Burnley School Attendance Week
Improving school attendance is one of four priorities set out by Burnley Children and Young People's Trust to improve the lives of children and young people across Burnley Borough.
A wide range of work is being carried out by primary and secondary schools across the area to make sure pupils get the most out of their school life, and establish strong foundations that will allow them to perform to their best when they take GCSE exams.
As part of this work the Trust has staged School Attendance Week during October 2011, a week of events and activities highlighting the importance of good attendance and recognising the work that's being done to encourage pupils to attend classes.
The earlier you can instil good habits, the more likely you are to keep to them. The same applies to going to school - and a drive to 'catch them early' forms the basis of an action plan drawn up to tackle truancy throughout Burnley's schools.
Burnley Children and Young People's Trust has drawn up a series of ideas and intitiatives to help improve the Borough's school attendance rates. One of the most important is working with nursery schools, both state and private, to get children into the habit of going to school from a very early age. "It's about getting into a good routine in the early years so that children keep that good habit throughout their school life", explained Trust Co-ordinator, Catherine Swift.
"If children and their parents get into good routines in the early years then hopefully they'll keep those good habits of attending school throughout their education. On the flip side if we can pick up those children who haven't got good attendance records at nursery school then we can work with the parents and the school to catch that at an early stage and hopefully improve it. In cases where children are struggling to stay in class then we need to look into the causes and try and find a solution."
The Trust is planning a campaign in the autumn to raise awareness of the importance of being in school and not playing truant. The campaign will include truancy sweeps, a celebration event for pupils who have achieved 100% attendance and working with local schools to raise the profile of the work to boost attendance and highlight the importance of being in class.
Primary schools across the Borough are working with parents and pupils to make sure children get the best possible start, on the basis that by establishing the habit of getting up and to school on time will live with youngsters through their school life.
At Cliviger Primary School a cuddly soft toy called Champ the Chimp encourages pupils to be in school. Each week the class with the best attendance gets to have a new 'classmate'. It's one of a range of rewards for those pupils that have excellent attendance records. The school is also introducing attendance badges - bronze for 100% attendance in the autumn term, silver if they also make it through spring without an absence and gold if they go through the whole school year.
Head Naomi Healey said "Introducing an element of competition among classes and finding fun ways of improving attendance help encourage the children. We're building up good habits and good practice in them which hopefully they will take with them throughout primary school and when they move up to secondary school."
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