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New drive launched to improve attendance in Havering schools

Havering Council say the move is to help pupils falling behind.

A new drive to reduce the number of children missing school has been launched in Havering.

Local authorities will be working with state schools and academies to look at the trends for low attendance and how to tackle them.

Havering Council say “the move is to help stop pupils falling behind on their studies and to help parents and pupils realise the impact that missing school can have on children long-term.”

The average school attendance for primary schools in the borough is 94% – slightly higher than the national average of 93.7%.

Secondary school attendance is also slightly higher at 92.3% – with the national average sitting at 91%.

The Council say despite this they’re working to improve these figures.

Cabinet Lead for Children and Young People, Councillor Oscar Ford said: “We want parents, carers and pupils to recognise what absences can mean for them and their child’s education, and also to understand the repercussions that can come with their child missing school, which can include being fined.

“In addition to not attending school, pupils are marked as absent if they arrive late for school. Every minute lost means they are losing out on learning, and this can have a major impact longer-term.

“Being just five minutes late each day adds up to three lost school days; being 15 minutes late is the equivalent to 10 lost days.”

The Council’s school attendance team visits every Havering school each term to look at their attendance records.

Some of the reasons pupils gave for missing school were cheaper holidays during term-time, looking after pets, birthdays and oversleeping.

Visiting relatives, caring for family members and buying new shoes or uniform were also gave as reasons.

Councillor Ford added: “It’s important that children have good school attendance, as it also affects their social and mental wellbeing.

“Being late or missing school means they can miss out on playtime or socialising with their friends which then affects their friendships.

“Pupils also fall behind in their work and then feel anxious if they are asked a question they can’t answer.

“All these have a knock-on effect, which sometimes mean pupils then don’t want to attend school making a bad situation worse.”

He said: “Schools will work with parents and carers to get to the root of any issue and to find ways to help them get their child back in school.

“Anyone who has concerns or needs more information should speak their child’s class teacher.”

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