Attendance: In it to win it!
Aim for 100% attendance
Moving out of the pandemic has been hard for many. Looking after ourselves and others is a priority and making the right judgement call on illness and fitness for school is harder than ever. Some families have wrestled with decisions over whether or not their child should be in school. This has been the tale in schools nationally during September and October 2022.
At Deer Park, we pride ourselves on high attendance and throughout the pandemic our pupils' attendance was above national and local averages. Now that we are out of the responsive measures of the pandemic, it is time to claw our way back to the top of the attendance tree. In 2019, Deer Park's attendance hit an all-time high of over 96%, at least two percentage points above the national average! What this meant for our pupils is that they were far more likely to experience success than pupils with lower attendance, particularly when it comes to GCSE performance.
Any drop in attendance will, over time, have a negative impact on pupil success. If you're not in school, you are missing out and it is very difficult to recover the lost time.
90% attendance is not good enough
If a pupil scores 90% in an assessment, it is usually cause for celebration. This is not the case when we talk about attendance, and here is why:
Over the course of a school year, if a pupil's attendance drops to 90%, they are missing 10% of their time in school. In a school year, this is equivalent to 18 days or missing a day of school every fortnight. At first glance this may not seem significant but over the course of 5 years this amounts to 90 days, or 18 school weeks. To put this into sharp reality, this would be the equivalent of a pupil attending school every day in Years 7 to 10 and then in Year 11 attending school until the end of December, missing the next 18 weeks of school, and then coming back to Deer Park to sit their exams in the second week of May. This would be a disaster if any pupil found themselves in such a situation. Yet over 5 years, with days off school spread out across the weeks, this can easily happen; missing a day one week and then two days a couple of weeks later, for example.
Broken weeks are a problem, both in the short term, as they cause immediate gaps in learning, and in the long term, as illustrated above.
If you are in any doubt about whether to send your child in to school, the NHS: Is my child too ill for school? online guide is a handy reference to help you decide, particularly if you are battling with a grumpy teenager. The default position should always be to send your child in unless, for example, they have a temperature. We want to help avoid broken weeks. Please read our Attendance page and contact our Attendance Officer if you have any queries.
Once in school, our Welfare Manager and Pastoral Team can keep tabs on any pupils we are worried about, for example if they have a cold but need watching in case it develops into a fever. Please remind your child that if they feel unwell when in school, they should go to the Welfare Office, where they will be assessed. A member of staff will contact you if necessary, for example to collect them from school. Pupils should not be phoning home asking to be picked up.
Suffice to say, we want our pupils to be safe, happy and successful; making sure their attendance in school is as high as possible is a key requirement in achieving these aims.