Nottingham pupils boost attendance to win exclusive gig

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Pupils from secondary schools in Nottingham have boosted their attendance to win the chance to see an exclusive pop concert in the City.

Classes with the best overall attendance from six schools will watch a special VIP performance by pop group Neon Jungle at the Glee Club in Nottingham on Thursday (15 January).

Attendance was measured over the Autumn term as part of the campaign, which has been organised by Nottingham City Council in conjunction with radio station Capital FM.

Fronted by Neon Jungle and Capital FM Breakfast Show presenters Dino and Pete, the campaign urged pupils to ‘Get In:volved to Get the Gig’. It included presentations in the schools, a special video, website and radio adverts, as well as launch assemblies for pupils with Dino and Pete.

Whole classes were encouraged to work together to improve their collective attendance.

This new approach to tackling absence has worked with six schools placed into special measures and given notices to improve by Ofsted in December 2013: Bulwell Academy, Big Wood School, Bluecoat Beechdale, Farnborough Academy, Ellis Guilford School and Djanogly City Academy.

Schools on average saw a 2% increase in overall attendance. There was also a fall in unauthorised absence across all schools from 3.7% in Autumn 2013 to 2.9% in Autumn 2014.

Cllr Sam Webster, Executive Assistant for Schools at Nottingham City Council, said: “I’m pleased that pupils have responded positively to this campaign. I attended one of the launch assemblies at Bulwell Academy with Dino and Pete, and there was a huge buzz among the pupils. This is exactly the reaction we were hoping for.

“Children who are registered with a school have to be in that school every day unless they are too unwell to attend and we have taken a tough line on unauthorised absences, but at the same we wanted to try something that would set a challenge to improve attendance rates further. Pupils across the participating schools have met that challenge and I hope that all of the young people involved have a brilliant time at the concert with Neon Jungle.

“Most importantly, this campaign has helped to support the wider attendance work being carried out in schools.”

Richard Ardis, Managing Director at Capital FM East Midlands, said: “This has been a hugely exciting campaign for us. The Get In:volved partnership with Nottingham City Council has delivered fantastic results which is especially rewarding considering we’re tackling the very important social issue of truancy. It has engaged Capital FM listeners right across Nottingham and we’ve been delighted to have Education Secretary, Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, promoting this initiative right across the UK.”

Elizabeth Parry, Senior Vice Principal at Bulwell Academy, said: “This campaign has given an additional boost to our work to drive up student attendance. Our achievements have been identified as positive by Ofsted and welcomed by both students and parents. It’s great to be able to give a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ reward to those students who really achieve outstanding attendance.  We have an excited group of students looking forward to attending the Neon Jungle gig next week and they deserve this recognition.”

James Aldred, Assistant Head Teacher at Big Wood School in Bestwood Park, added: “We have continued to work with parents and pupils on promoting the importance of maintaining a high attendance and the benefits associated with it. This led to our attendance during the first half term reaching 97%. The incentives offered as part of the Get In:volved campaign and other incentives offered in school have contributed to this success.”

Sam Law, Attendance Co-ordinator for Ellis Guilford School in Basford, said: “Having a city wide initiative focused on the importance of good school attendance has benefited everyone: schools, parents, young people and local communities. It demonstrates what can be achieved when we all work together. Having the extra incentives from the Get In:volved campaign have been a great opportunity for our students to be able to win tickets to a gig and see a popular modern group like Neon Jungle. Our tutor groups that won the tickets achieved over 97% attendance for the last term which is an outstanding achievement.”

The competition is part of a wider drive by the City Council to improve school attendance in Nottingham. In June last year, the Council launched a zero tolerance approach to unauthorised school absence, with a week of action, community patrols and Councillors visiting every school in Nottingham. But the drive to improve attendance is also about celebrating and rewarding excellent attendance. Those with the best records and those that had turned things around were recognised for the first time at the Lord Mayor’s Attendance Awards in July.

Cllr Webster added: “I’m pleased that these schools have seen an improvement in attendance and are reducing unauthorised absences. It is crucial that we improve school attendance rates in Nottingham so the better rates must be sustained.

“Ultimately, we want children to be in school so that they can achieve their full potential. Missing 17 days of school a year has been proved to be the difference between getting one higher grade at GCSE level – and that is crucial for our young people.”

Parents can help their child’s attendance at school by:

  • Making sure their child gets to school on time
  • Not booking holidays during term time
  • Contacting the school the first day a child is off sick.

For more advice on school attendance, visitwww.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/schoolattendance

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