Attendance turnaround ‘sets example’ for rest of Wales

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A campaign to raise school attendance has seen one local education authority setting the bar for the rest of Wales.

Improvements in secondary school attendance in Bridgend county, in just one year, has seen the borough shoot up the league table from 16th to 7th place.

More pupils are also attending primary school regularly which, according to Bridgend council, is thanks to its joint campaign with the Welsh government and schools to make parents and pupils more aware of the importance of regular school attendance.

The Welsh government has made it one of its top priorities to improve attendance with a series of campaigns to drive home the message to parents of the importance of getting their children to school on time and every day.

Secondary school attendance has risen in Bridgend from 

92 per cent in 2012/13 to 93.8 per cent in 2013/14, which was a rate of improvement higher than the Welsh average.

The authority has now launched a new campaign to build on its success, which will focus on the early identification of pupils with poor attendance and help them and their family to overcome obstacles.

The School Attendance Strategy, which runs until 2017, also sets out what actions will be taken if a pupil’s attendance does not improve, up to and including fixed penalties and potential prosecution.

Councillor Huw David, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “The benefits of this are obvious – even if a child has an 80 per cent overall attendance rate by the time they leave school, they will still have missed out on an entire year of education. As well as leaving some children vulnerable to harm, poor attendance also increases the risk of leaving school without qualifications and becoming drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour.

“So it is great to see that our efforts are paying off with a recorded rise in the number of children who are regularly attending school. 

“I fully support the strategy and believe it will provide greater focus and support as the council and local schools seek to give children the very best start in life that we can.”

  


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