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Schools boost for truancy-busting teams
TRUANCY-BUSTING initiatives to cut the number of pupils skipping classes in North Yorkshire’s schools are paying off.
The latest figures released by the Department for Education (DfE) show that North Yorkshire County Council’s early intervention strategy to reduce the number of pupils absent is paying off with the county’s absence rates falling year-on-year with particular success in reducing the number of persistent absentees in both primary and secondary schools.
Nationally persistent absenteeism has fallen to 3.4 per cent from 3.9 per cent in primary schools and from 8.4 per cent to 6.8 per cent in secondary.
In North Yorkshire however, primary school persistent absenteeism has fallen to 2.5 per cent and secondary persistent absenteeism to 6.1 per cent.
Councillors say the success is due to the council working closely with schools in operating an early warning system.
The local authority is notified as soon as a child’s school attendance starts to dip so that the education social work service has the chance to work with children and families to prevent it becoming a persistent problem.
County councillor Arthur Barker, North Yorkshire’s executive member for schools, said: “As soon as a child’s attendance begins to drop we go in and identify the issues, working closely with our families and schools.
“We set up an action plan and track individual children over a period of time.
“Early intervention is the key to tackling absence, but so too are excellent standards in education and in North Yorkshire we are blessed with excellent schools, an enriched curriculum and dedicated teachers.”
Meanwhile, in East Yorkshire, the percentage of pupils persistently absent in primary and secondary schools is 4.8 per cent.
Sam Tomkins, principal education welfare officer at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “The local authority has been working closely with schools and parents in a bid to reduce the number of unauthorised absences by pupils and this has seen an improvement in attendance, as the national figures show.
“We have specifically looked at reducing the number of holidays taken during term time and this has been very successful with the support of schools and parents.
“We are now beginning to focus on reducing the number of school days lost due to illness and routine medical appointments.”