Schools across Liverpool have been honoured for their hard work in encouraging children to do the best for their own future by staying in the classroom.
Liverpool faces a challenge when it comes to driving up school attendance; absence rates for the city are higher than the national average. The city also fares poorly when compared to many of the country’s other major cities in terms of absence from school.
Last year more than half a million school days were lost to absence in the city – that’s the equivalent of 10 days out of school for every pupil.
Whilst 270,000 of these days were lost to sickness, more than 200,000 of these days were classed simply as ‘unauthorised’. A further 50,000 days were lost to children being taken out of school during term time for family holidays.
With research by the Department for Education suggesting that every day out of school can have a negative impact on a child’s GCSE grades, partners across Liverpool are committed to doing all they can to get as many children as possible into school every day.
Working in partnership, School Improvement Liverpool and the Liverpool Learning Partnership, with support from Liverpool City Council, have created the Attendance Quality Mark scheme.
Schools signing up for the scheme work towards achieving bronze, silver or gold standards of the quality mark by showing that they have the processes in place to tackle absence and promote attendance.
Research by the Liverpool Learning Partnership has shown that schools taking part in the quality mark scheme improve attendance and reduce absence at a faster rate than those who do not.
Adam Kewn, who is the attendance lead at Heygreen Primary in Wavertree was one of those on hand to pick up the quality mark on behalf of the school.
Adam said: “Attendance was a big issue for us, it was a real concern that children weren’t in and weren’t learning.
Over the last few years we have been trying to raise attendance through a lot of initiatives and working with our families. The work for the quality mark helped us to focus this work and gave us some great ideas.
“As a result we are seeing an upward trend in attendance, we can talk positively with our families about attendance and feel more comfortable in challenging non-attendances. Thanks to the quality mark, we are seeing great progress.”
Recently 19 primary and secondary schools that have worked through the programme, achieved the quality mark and are now seeing improvements in attendance were honoured for their achievements at a special ceremony. Liverpool Learning Partnership will be holding a briefing session for schools on Thursday 27 February, where education professionals can find out more about the AQM and how to take part. For more information visit: www.liverpoollearningpartnership.com