Improve your learning environment – improve attendance

BLOG 22 NOV 2023

putney high school wall art

Ever since the Covid pandemic, there has been an alarming rise in school absence rates. According to Government data released in May 2023, almost a quarter of pupils were persistently absent during the 2022 autumn term. Prior to the pandemic, the absence rate sat between 10 to 13%, but in the 2022-2023 academic year, this doubled to over 22%. The sky-high absence rates show no sign of improving, and school attendance is now at a crisis point.

Why is there an attendance crisis?

There are myriad causes behind the dramatic rise in absenteeism, all of which have created a ‘perfect storm’ for the school attendance crisis.

Primarily, two of the main factors for non-attendance are illness and school avoidance caused by rising mental health issues among children and adolescents. This, coupled with a more developed knowledge and understanding about how pupils can learn successfully from home as they did in Covid, is making parents question how necessary it is to attend school when it’s not a comfortable environment for their child. This is especially so for neurodiverse children or for those with additional learning needs, where school can be overwhelming and stressful.

“Work around internal emotional-based school avoidance is picking up complex issues around the environment in schools. Most children are not attending because they feel school is not a nice place to be.”
Christina Jones, CEO at River Tees MAT

Secondly, since Covid, parents are less sure of when their child is well enough to go to school, and are more likely to keep them at home with minor illnesses that previously they would have gone to school with. And with many more parents now working from home, it’s much easier to keep children off school than in pre-Covid times.

Thirdly, the cost of living crisis means it can be too expensive for parents on lower incomes to send their children to school. Travel, lunch, uniform, trip costs and so forth all add up, so keeping their children at home is sometimes a financial necessity.

Three ways to tackle low attendance

Finding ways to improve attendance rates has always been a focus for schools, but with the current attendance crisis – and pressure to meet Government attendance targets – senior leaders are looking for other creative ways to entice pupils to attend school consistently.

“A survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in 2010 found that 96% believe a school’s learning environment influences pupils’ behaviour.” School learning environments

To help tackle low attendance, a school has to be a place where pupils want to be. To help achieve this…


Kings Cross Academy welcome wall art

Create a welcoming, ‘happy’ place with Wall Art to improve attendance

School should be the place where things are consistent and reliable; a place where pupils feel safe, wanted, calm and able to relax; a place where there are people they know who care deeply about them and want them to be the best they can be and achieve their full potential. In short, school should be their ‘happy’ place.

“Students who study in a positive learning environment have been shown to be more motivated, engaged and have a higher overall learning ability.” UCAS 2019

An educational environment that’s welcoming, inspiring, stimulating and fun helps to engage pupils in both their learning and their mental wellbeing. For example, ‘subject zoning’ makes a school an easier place to navigate and, therefore, a more comfortable place to be, while breakout areas provide relaxation spaces to decompress, regulate emotions, support anxiety-reducing strategies and make school feel like a safer place to be.

Bring the benefits of nature inside

We’re all aware that spending time outside in nature is proven to benefit mental health, but did you know that bringing the living world inside a school using nature-themed Wall Art can also provide positive effects? This is backed up by research, including a project around biophilic design that Promote Your School was part of with Putney High School.

“The impact of the photographic mural demonstrated change through a more animated environment, whereby students choose to move to a seat with a view of the mural, and the teacher expressed: ‘I love teaching in this room’ while facing the mural to address the students.” Clare Bowman, Sustainability Advisor at RCZM Sustainable Design.

Torquay academy atrium nature wall art

Make your school ‘wow’ with Wall Art

When we close our eyes and transport ourselves to our happy places, we see somewhere breath-taking, inspiring, awesome and ‘wow’ to us. So it makes sense that when your pupils close their eyes and think of school, you want it to be visually breath-taking, inspiring, awesome and ‘wow’ for them.

Wall Art will help you:

Wall Art can help make your school a happy, safe place that your pupils want to go to each and every day.


Maintenance School Improvement


inspiring reading spaces wall art

5 Inspiring Reading Spaces in Schools

Did you know that you don’t need a school library to get pupils reading? In fact, many schools we work with use other areas of their buildings to create inspiring reading spaces.

Get a free on-site consultation

We’ll visit your school to understand your goals, explain our process and provide you with a no-obligation quote.

Or call 020 7404 3400



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