Sutton school successfully clamping down on truancy

Head teacher Rob Mellor who is introducing measures to clamp down on truancy and absentees from the Sutton school is pictured with year 6 pupils who have 100% attendance.

Head teacher Rob Mellor who is introducing measures to clamp down on truancy and absentees from the Sutton school is pictured with year 6 pupils who have 100% attendance.

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A headteacher has says his school is successfully clamping down on pupils missing class with a series of initiatives- including turning up at the homes of absent pupils himself.

Shock statistic recently revealed the percentage of youngsters missing classes from each school in the county, with Brierley Forest Primary topping the list for the Mansfield and Ashfield area with 13.6 per cent of children missing regularly.

But headteacher Rob Mellor says he and his staff have now introduced new, rigid initiatives to reduce the amount of pupils missing classes.

The school has introduced a free breakfast club to encourage children to be at school early, runs free walking bus services using hired staff, giving out prizes to those with 100 per cent attendence, and bringing in a family support worker.

If children do fail to turn up, parents are contacted through letters, text messages, and if all else fails, in extreme cases, Rob will visit their home.

“It’s had a real effect,” he admitted.

“We have put a lot of work into this and the statistics show that between September and December of 2013, we’re down to 6.4 per cent so it’s having an impact.

“There’s only so much we can do, but what we are doing seems to be working.

“Our responsibility is with the children, and by doing this we are supporting them.”

The statistics from the Department For Education were recorded between the autumn and spring of the 2012-13 academic year, taking into account not only truancy, but parents taking children out of school for holidays during term time.

Rob said he had some sympathy for parents in booking holidays but maintained his priority was his pupils.

He added: “It’s really difficult for parents, some do not earn a lot of money.

“They can pay the £50 fine but save hundreds of pounds on the cost of a holiday during term time, and that will impact on attendance.”

Denis McCarthy, targeted support operations manager at the Notitnghamshire County Council, said parents had a huge part to play: “From past experience the best way to deal with this issue is when parents are willing to co-operate and work with us to identify any underlying issues and we only go down the prosecution route as a last resort.”

The figures released shows that as well as Brierley Forest, other schools mentioned include Walseby Primary with 12.4 per cent of pupls missing regularly, Wainright Primary Academy in Mansfield with 11.6 per cent.

Others high on the list for the region includes Asquith Primary in Mansfield, and Croft Primary and Leamington Primary in Sutton.