The Importance of Good Attendance
At Ashgate Primary School we take attendance very seriously, and with good reason. Not only was it our only identified category for improvement in our most recent Ofsted inspection (downgrading our ‘behaviour’ rating to requires improvement as it was deemed attitudes to attendance were poor), but as you will see the stark reality of persistent absence is concerning in terms of children's learning.
Nationally, there is a strong pattern proving that pupils with persistent absence or general low attendance under perform compared with those who have good attendance.
I have recently undertaken a detailed analysis of the impact poor attendance has pupils’ attainment at Ashgate. The findings are plain to see.
This academic year to date:
This means that pupils who are persistently absent (less than 90% attendance) are at least twice as likely to underperform than those with fair/good attendance, and in the case of mathematics more than three times likely to underperform.
These figures do NOT include absences because of Covid isolations/restrictions.
Whilst we understand that there are occasions when absence is unavoidable and very legitimate, persistent absence is deeply damaging to a child’s opportunity to succeed . Persistent absence is not ‘normal’ and in its simplest form means your child is absent for 1 in 10 lessons or more. A medical practitioner would be concerned if a child was ill for 1 in every 10 days or more.
I often say to parents who are asked to speak to me because their child’s attendance is persistent, “if I said I could give your child an extra lesson for every 9 they currently have, do you think they would achieve much more?”. The answer is predictably ‘yes’. As a school, we offer this to all our persistent absentees in the form of our normal opening hours; the child simply has come to school.
May I take this opportunity to thank all those parents who ensure that their children attend school regularly. You are providing your child with every opportunity to succeed and are supported in this though a vibrant school curriculum that is delivered by excellent teachers and support staff.
Over the coming term, parents of children who are persistently absent will be contacted and requested to attend a meeting, in some cases with the Educational Welfare Officer. If you receives such a letter, it is vital that you communicate with us at your child is at significant risk of underperforming agains their potential.