Posted on: Wednesday 14 December 2022
The number of unauthorised absences in primary schools in Torfaen has reduced over the past month.
In November, a total of 1.5 per cent of primary school absences were unauthorised, compared to 1.7 per cent in October.
Blaenavon Heritage Primary School saw the biggest individual reduction in unauthorised absences, from 3 per cent in October to 1.6 per cent in November.
Headteacher Anna Britten said: "The children enjoy coming to school because of the exciting things they do in the classroom.
"The reduction in unauthorised absences is also down to parents giving reasons for absence more consistently and we have used our newsletter to encourage parents not to book appointments during school time."
Year Five pupil, Oscar, said one of the reasons he enjoyed going to school was the chance to spend time with friends: “We see our friends in school and we get to play football and rugby matches.”
Classmate Iestyn said: "We enjoy fun lessons. I like literacy!”
Bayleigh-Rae, who is also in Year Five, added: “I really like the art we do in school.”
And Year Six pupil Demi said: “We did lots of activities for Pudsey last month and made biscuits.”
St Davids RC Primary School, in Cwmbran, was the only school in Torfaen to have no unauthorised absences in October and November.
Headteacher Joanne Weightman said: "We are delighted with our attendance rate and that pupils feel happy and safe coming to school.
"Our school support officer has fantastic relationships with our families and we have an open door policy for parents to come and talk to us at any time."
West Monmouth School in Pontypool was the only secondary school in Torfaen to see a decrease in unauthorised attendance, from 2.6 per cent to 2.4 per cent.
Councillor Richard Clark, Executive Member for Education, said: "It's great to see reductions in unauthorised absences in schools because they can have a negative impact on pupils and their class.
"The work schools are doing to support pupils to regularly attend school, and encourage parents to report their children absent promptly, is paying dividends.
"It's also been a pleasure to see schools sharing photographs of some of the fun activities this term as part of the Not In Miss Out campaign. I look forward to seeing more updates next term."
Last month, Torfaen Council launched its Not In Miss Out campaign to help reduce unauthorised absences by celebrating the benefits of going to school regularly.
Unauthorised absences are recorded when a pupil is absent without explanation, or where schools do not consider the reason given an acceptable cause to miss school.
The Welsh Government is currently updating their policy and guidance around attendance and a revised draft attendance policy for Torfaen will be published in the spring.
If a child cannot attend school, parents or carers should report them absent as soon as possible. Parents and carers should also ensure schools have their correct contact details.
If a child is struggling to attend school on a regular basis, parents and carers should speak to their school or contact the Council’s Education Welfare team on 01495 766965.
For information about school attendance in Torfaen, visit the website.