Monday, 24 September 2018

Poor attendance is hurting pupils’ progress, says head

THE headteacher of Lewknor Primary School says the poor attendance record of some pupils is damaging their progress.

Deborah Cole said a few children were achieving only 90 per cent attendance, compared with the national average of 96 per cent.

This meant these pupils had missed the equivalent of four school weeks during the year.

Writing to parents in the school’s newsletter, Mrs Cole said: “I have had a look at our most up-to-date attendance figures and they are very poor for a small group of children.

“The national average for school attendance is 96 per cent. Those children whose attendance falls below this figure will develop large gaps in their learning which will have a serious impact on their attainment and progress.

“I have checked our most up-to-date assessment results and data showing progress of those children who have less than 96 per cent attendance.

“Every single one of these children (without exception) has not reached the same standard (progress, attainment or both) as those children with a 96 per cent-plus attendance.

“There are some children (although very few) whose attendance is at 90 per cent. Only children with severe medical needs are expected to have this level of attendance. The children at our school have no such needs.”

The Government says that the majority of children should routinely have an attendance rate of at least 97 per cent. This is the equivalent of six days’ absence a year.

However, 100 per cent is achieved by many children, including pupils at Lewknor primary.

Mrs Cole said: “We understand that within families there can be unforeseen circumstances.

“In times of emergency or upheaval, it is sometimes better to keep a child in school where we can provide a safe and familiar routine while the family attends to issues. We are here to help. Please let us know if we can support you in these matters in any way.

“Also, some children may say they feel too tired or unwell for school, but actually they may be able to cope better than you think.

“School provides lots of distractions, in a positive way, and children soon forget their woes once they get stuck into school life.

“We would never insist a child stays at school if we thought he or she was too unwell to attend. Remember, we at school just want the very best for your child.”

• What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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