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Let’s get school attendance back on track

At the start of the new term, a drive to improve school attendance has been launched by Plymouth City Council aimed at ensuring that all children and young people across the city have the best chance of achieving.

In partnership with schools, the new campaign highlights that lost days of learning really do add up and reminds families that every day in school matters: regular school attendance plays an important part in helping your child achieve more and improve attainment during their school lives and beyond.

In the 2022/23 school year, primary school attendance in Plymouth was at 93 per cent and secondary school attendance was at 89 per cent.  Whilst these percentages may seem like an acceptable level of attendance, in reality this means that there are over 500,000 days of missed school.

  • 90 per cent attendance = 19 days of absence across a school year. That is three weeks and four days of learning missed.
  • 85 per cent attendance = 28 days of absence. That is five weeks and three days missed (almost half a term)
  • 80 per cent attendance = 38 days of absence. That is seven weeks and three days missed (half a term)
  • 75 per cent attendance = 47 days of absence. That is nine weeks and two days missed (almost a whole term).

As a Council, and in partnership with you, we want families to aim for 100 per cent attendance at school. We know that being in school on time and ready to learn means that children can make friends, develop new skills and build their confidence.

Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships, Councillor Sally Cresswell, said: "Parents and carers need to know that every day matters and for every day absent, not only does the child miss out on the teaching and learning taking place that day, but future learning and knowledge could be hampered. Being in school with friends and peers is so important for our children and young people's social development as well. Especially at the beginning of the Autumn Term.

“We all want our children and young people to have the best chances of achieving, and Plymouth’s new attendance campaign encourages schools, pupils and their families to work together to get attendance back on track. Specialist support is available from a range of different teams and pupils and families can access help and advice on all matters relating to attendance.

“Our campaign highlights the fact that there’s simply no excuse for a child to miss school without a valid reason.

“We understand that children can feel anxious about school for many reasons. Let’s tackle the issue together and support them to attend school every day."

Over the first few weeks of term, parents and carers will be sent a guide to school attendance which will provide accurate information, help and support. For more information, go to: www.plymouth.gov.uk/school-matters.