A Million Missed Lessons: How to Reduce Unauthorised Absence
If you like to keep up on the latest news and current affairs, then the recent press for term time holidays and truancy will probably not have escaped you. Schools are under increasing pressure to produce results, yet one of their biggest problems is getting children to school in the first place.
According to government figures released last month, around one million schoolchildren missed lessons last year after taking family holidays in term time. It seems the pursuit of a cheaper holiday in the sun, is in an increasing number of cases, taking priority over children’s education.
This absenteeism has received a huge amount of exposure recently, following the case of Jon Platt, who last week lost his supreme court case over refusing to pay a fine for taking his 7-year old daughter to Disney World in term time.
Parents who take their children out of school without permission face a £60 fine, which rises to £120 if not paid promptly and if ignored can result in prosecution.
Why does it matter if children miss school?
The simple answer is that there is a direct link between achievement and attendance. Those who miss time off school generally don’t perform as well in exams and are more likely to be unemployed when they leave school.
Parents may consider that a day or two, here and there, makes no difference but it all adds up. Schools used to be able to grant ten days’ absence at the parents’ request, however, if all children took this as their right, plus the expected amount of sick leave during their educational years, this would equate to missing an entire year of school.
Not only does absenteeism affect achievement, it can also negatively impact on the discipline of the whole school, so it is not surprising that the ‘wag men’ have been introduced in certain areas to combat the problems schools face with absenteeism and give those children who are missing school the chance to pave their way for a better future.
These ‘attendance ambassadors’ have been given powers to visit the homes of parents whose children are suspected of truancy, to reinforce the values of attendance.
Some parents have blasted the move, saying it will increase confrontation between school and parents but the fact remains that children should not be taken out of school without good reason, so it is all about finding a system that works for your school to support this.
How Truancy Call Can Help Reduce Unauthorised Absence
Truancy Call is an absence and late messaging system that integrates with the main MIS systems to enable schools to reduce unauthorised absence, improve punctuality and remove the burden of mass calling for office staff. One of the key features of this system is that it can send automated phone calls repeatedly until parents respond. Communication can also be sent via text message and email to increase the response rate and as parents are not charged for responding to calls from Truancy Call, you can even reach those who are out of mobile phone credit.
You can request a demo of Truancy Call here or contact our team on 0844 448 4422 to find out more about the features and benefits of this system.