Engaging with pupils and parents to improve pupil attendance

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Wolfscastle

Wolfscastle Primary School has achieved consistently low pupil absence rates after involving learners and parents in the development of their attendance policy.


Number of learners:  42
Age range:  3-11
Date of Inspection:  November 2015

Context

Wolfscastle Community Primary School serves the rural village of Wolfscastle and the surrounding area.  It is maintained by Pembrokeshire local authority.  At present, there are 42 pupils on roll, which includes seven part-time nursery age pupils.  Over the last three years, about 9% of pupils have been eligible for free school meals, which is considerably lower than the average for Wales.  Forty-three per cent of pupils come from Welsh-speaking homes.  About 21% of pupils are on the additional learning needs register.

Culture and ethos

The school is a welcoming community that encourages high moral standards and good behaviour among pupils.  Staff foster a caring ethos that means that pupils have equal access to all aspects of school life.  Staff promote care and respect between pupils and adults and between pupils and their peers effectively.  The school mission statement is ‘to enable each child to develop as a whole person in mind, spirit and body, and for all persons involved in the school to be part of a happy, healthy, safe and caring community’.  It is well understood by all at the school.

Action

The school council works enthusiastically with the headteacher and the governing body to improve wellbeing across the school.  A key priority for the school council has been to develop pupils’ understanding of the importance of attending school.  It has focused on encouraging responsibility for good attendance among pupils.

Attendance is a regular item on the school council agenda.  The headteacher works with the school council to analyse school attendance data and identify trends in absenteeism.  The school council used questionnaires with all pupils to discover their viewpoints in relation to attendance.  Members of the school council monitor their peers’ attitude towards their personal attendance in the form of a questionnaire twice a year.  As a result, the school has introduced a wide range of strategies to improve and sustain good attendance at the school.  For example, they celebrate pupils’ successes on a termly basis by using reward systems.  This has a positive effect on pupils’ wellbeing, behaviour and attitude to learning.

As a result of analysing the outcomes of questionnaires and the annual survey, the school council suggested changes and adapted the attendance policy several times during the last year.  It is also actively involved in developing the annual attendance action plan.  Involving pupils makes sure that they have ownership of the policy and areas for improvement in the school.  In order to gain parents’ interest and support, the school council has produced a helpful information sheet about the importance of good attendance.

The school council makes regular presentations to the governing body highlighting the importance of good attendance.  These presentations make sure that attendance remains a priority for the school.

Outcomes

Pupils’ attendance levels are excellent.  The school’s attendance percentage has placed it consistently in the top 25% in comparison with similar schools based on free-school-meal benchmarks.  Pupils have a full understanding of the importance of attending school.  The school council has produced a pamphlet to encourage and maintain high attendance and has shared it with other schools in the catchment area.  This has a positive effect on attendance at Wolfscastle School along with attendance at other schools.

Improving and sustaining attendance has contributed significantly to most pupils making good progress in their learning during their period at the school.

Links

https://www.pgfl.org.uk/schools/bgf/Casblaidd/about/default.aspx