Parent / Carer update – April 23rd 2018

This week’s update from Worle is about attendance at WCSA. ‘Improving Attendance’ is one of our key priorities at our Academy and, as with everything, we like to celebrate those who get it right. I am sure that some parents reading this will have recently received a 100% attendance post card which is sent home termly. We have just sent out an amazing 649 postcards for Term 4. What an achievement! 

I know that some of you will have attended the Year 7 and 8 Celebration Evening. We also enter all students who have 100% attendance each term into a prize draw and there is an Amazon voucher of £5 given outin assembly. This is for each year group. There is also a prize draw for the student with the most improved attendance in each year group. We do this termly as we realise that people can occasionally need time off for a variety of reasons. The important thing is that everyone returns to school as soon as possible. Our school target is 96%.

We have recently launched our attendance ladder in school. This is now in student reception and in every classroom.

Attendance figures are shared weekly in tutor groups. I have heard quite a few horrified gasps from some studentswhen they realise how many days off they have had; a percentage can look good – if someone received 80% in a test they would be pleased. However, that equates to two months off school over a whole year!

Research clearly tells us that attendance and success are linked. 17 days off school leads to students receiving, on average, a whole GCSE grade lower in each subject.

We also need to think strongly about preparing students for life afterschool. We live in an ever competitive and commercial world. Frequent periods of absence are not tolerated and at work you could expect to be put on an action plan.

The same is to be said for punctuality. Students need to be in their tutor rooms ready to learn by 8:40 am every morning. They finish at 2:55 pm. Part of the rationale for this is to allow any routine medical appointments to take place after school.

Our new modular curriculum (9 week blocks) means that we now have a very tight and streamlined curriculum. As you know, this has been in response to the new GCSEs which include a greater range of content. Part of the student opinion / voice that we have conducted has shown that students can have concerns about returning to school as they feel they will have missed a lot. To combat this, we have introduced a welfare check. If your child has been away for three of more consecutive days our wonderful Student Services Manager, Emma Harvey, will visit them to check that they are OK and they know how to fill the gaps in their learning. We are also looking to introduce catch up sessions for students in Term 6. Watch this space. We are extremely lucky to have such a dedicated and committed team working to support the students.

Finally, we have one key initiative running this year which encompasses all aspects of a student’s learning. We are offering all students the opportunity to go on a trip (to be decided by a vote amongst the students) if they have:

• An average attendance of 98% (between 4th January and 31st May);
• Have over 80 positive achievement points (from 1 Sep to 31st May);
• Have an average effort grade of 3 or above on PS3.

Attendance is an area where it is hard to have initiatives that play to everyone’s strengths. All of us can need time off for one reason or another at some point. The attitude we are trying to instil in students is that they come back as soon as possible and arrive both at school and to all lessons on time.

We are always looking for new ways to improve so if you have any good ideas please do let me know.

Students only attend school for 175 days a year.

We make every single one count.

Thank you for your support.
Anna Venn