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Pupil absence: Questions for policy, for research and in practice

Pupil absence post COVID has risen, yet what the precise causes are and how they can best be remedied remains uncertain. The evidence given to the Education Select Committee Inquiry into this topic set out a number of interlinking factors that need taking into consideration if the situation is to improve. In this panel discussion, speakers will draw on their knowledge of the issues, based on research, practice and personal experience and suggest ways forward.


  • Lindsey Macmillan, Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities at UCL Institute of Education, Faculty of Education and Society
  • Dame Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England
  • Ellie Costello, Director at Square Peg
  • Douglas Hutchison, Executive Director of Education at Glasgow City Council

To join this online event, please register.

The What Matters in Education? series of debates will continue throughout 2024 year.

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What matters in education?

A panel discussion seminar series asking new questions about how research, policy and practice can best interact to empower educators and create an education system that works for all.

Jointly hosted by IOE and the ESRC Education Research Programme (ERP), the ‘What matters in education?’ panel discussions will spark new thinking across education, social research and the wider social sciences on how research, policy and practice can most productively interact.

A mix of speakers from research, policymaker, public, professional or third and private sector backgrounds will consider an educational topic that matters for different stakeholder groups:  parents, families and pupils as well as practitioners, policymakers and researchers.

Speakers will reflect on what they know and understand about that issue from their own working context. Audience Q&A will clarify differences in approach, knowledge gaps that need to be filled and an agenda for educational change that would benefit from partnership working.

Find the briefing notes for the seminar series here.


January 22, 2024
5:30 pm
- 7:00 PM