Rhondda Cynon Taf’s Director of Education has warned that attitudes towards school attendance need to change if the council is to continue its upward trend in pupil numbers. This is from Wales Online…
While lesson attendance is improving in most schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf, Director of Education Chris Bradshaw says too many pupils are missing at least five weeks’ worth of classes a year.
Last year, Rhondda Cynon Taff was ranked the worst in Wales for pupil presence, but under the new figures, has risen to 16th out of 22 local authorities – a 1.3% improvement.
A startling 26 parents were prosecuted for their children’s non-attendance during the first three half terms of 2012 and 2013.
And 64 pupils were returned to school or their homes after being spotted by truancy patrols, and 75 families were approached by designated attendance support officers.
A report by Mr Bradshaw signalled a mostly positive trend in pupil numbers, with 25 primary schools having an attendance rate of over 94% for the year.
An impressive 14 of the 19 secondary schools have improved their attendance from this time last year.
But the director says only five secondary schools are currently hitting their attendance targets. The full report will be put before Rhondda Cynon Taf councillors at the education and lifelong learning scrutiny committee on April 11.
Mr Bradshaw, in his closing statement, concluded: “Cabinet and the education scrutiny committee have made improving school attendance a priority. It is pleasing to see the continued overall progress made by the primary and secondary schools in the first three terms of 2012/13 in improving attendance.
“If this continued focus on attendance is maintained it should impact on educational standards in the future.
“Working with the schools, parents, and the wider community we need to change attitudes to school to raise aspirations and enriching school life. Improving attendance is not an easy thing to achieve, but it is something collectively we need to work together to achieve.”