School attendance drive

Posted on: Wednesday 23 November 2022
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Scrutiny members have considered a report into Torfaen Council's partnership approach to improving school attendance. 

The report, discussed by the Education Overview and Scrutiny Committee, today outlined that while the Welsh Government has relaxed the requirement for formal attendance targets, the Council has asked schools to set informal targets to help inform evaluation and improvement processes.

It also outlined how the local authority's Education Welfare team were working closely with schools and other partners to promote increased attendance.

Since the pandemic, attendance at both primary and secondary schools has reduced - with average attendance at primary schools dropping to 92 over the past three years and 88 per cent at secondary schools.

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.

Councillor Richard Clark, Executive Member for Education, said: "We understand the reasons for school absenteeism are more complex since the pandemic, with an increase in pupils saying they cannot cope with going to school.

"We are working with schools to make sure there is appropriate support in place for pupils who are struggling to attend school.

"But persistent absenteeism is not just a problem for schools - it is an issue for the whole authority and communities, so it is right we take a multi-agency approach to support the child, their family and their school."

This month, Torfaen Council and local schools launched the #NotInMissOut campaign, aimed at promoting and celebrating the benefits of going to school every day from getting a great education, to extra-curricular activities and spending time with friends.

Persistent absenteeism refers to pupils with an attendance rate of below 80 per cent, whether that is due to authorised or unauthorised absences.

Where is pupil is recognised as being persistently absent, the school and education welfare team will work with the family to support the child's welfare and consider alternative ways of supporting their education. 

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, for example, regular holidays during term time. 

Schools record authorised absences based on Welsh Government guidance, such as if a child has been reported as ill or needs to attend a medical appointment.

If a child cannot attend school, parents or carers should report them absent as soon as possible. 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.

Last Modified: 23/11/2022 Back to top