Nottingham has reduced overall school absence to the same level as the national average for the first time in 12 years.
New figures released by the Department for Education today (30 May) show that overall absence for primary and secondary schools in the city for the autumn term 2018 fell by 0.3% on the previous year to 4.2%. This is now the same as the English average, which fell by 0.1%.
Secondary school absence in particular is now lower than the national average; figures for autumn 2018 show Nottingham at 4.8% absence compared to 4.9% nationally.
Persistent absence from secondary school is also now below the national average for the first time in 12 years – at 12.6% in Nottingham compared to 12.7% nationally.
News of the improved attendance follows last week’s announcement that more pupils in Nottingham now go to schools judged to be ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted (86%) compared to the national average (85%) and the East Midlands average (80%).
Cllr Neghat Khan, Portfolio Holder for Early Years, Education and Employment in Nottingham, said: “This is fantastic news for our schools. Not only are our children now spending more time in school, but more of them are attending schools that are ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.
“This is down to the hard work and commitment of all of our schools, working with our Education Welfare Service, who have taken a tough stance on absence. We’ve made it clear to pupils and their parents: we expect children to be in school, every day.
“The reason is simple – we want our pupils to succeed in their education and we believe that being in school gives them the best chance to do this.
“When children are persistently absent from school we will take action against parents through fines and possible court action.”
Fines of £60 per parent per child are issued through the courts for unauthorised absence. If this is not paid in 21 days, the fine doubles to £120 per parent, per child. If the fine is still unpaid, courts can impose tougher fines (with court costs) of up to £2,500 – and even have the power to issue prison sentences.
Today’s figures follow a long-term plan to improve school performance in Nottingham City through the Education Improvement Board. The City Council’s Education Welfare Service is also working with schools and academies to promote and recognise excellent attendance and good behaviour. Over the past few years, pupils with the best or most improved attendance have been recognised at the annual Lord Mayor’s Attendance Awards.
Cllr Khan added: “We’re still on a journey of improvement in Nottingham’s schools – but this is exactly the right direction of travel for us.”
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.
More help and advice on attendance is available from www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/schoolattendance
The full Department for Education statistics can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england-autumn-term-2018