School attendance in Derbyshire is above the national average and improving according to figures released this week.
The Department for Education has released figures showing primary school total absence for the county for 2011/2012 is 4.2 per cent compared to the national average of 4.4 per cent.
Secondary school total absence is down for the seventh year running at 5.7% compared to the national figure of 5.9%.
Cllr Mike Longden, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “We’re delighted that attendance figures for pupils in the county are once again above the national average and similar counties.
“There is a very strong link between attendance and attainment which is why we work closely with schools to make sure students don’t miss classes and parents and pupils understand how importance regular attendance is.”
Total absences in Derbyshire’s secondary schools have consistently dropped over the last seven years from 7.73 per cent in 2005/2006. Last year the figure was 6.3 per cent.
Total absence in primary schools last year was 4.8 per cent.
Cllr Longden said: “Improving attendance is a high priority for us and we will continue to do everything we can to make sure county children enjoy the benefits of the best education we can offer.”
A number of projects operate in Derbyshire to tackle unauthorised absences in primary and secondary schools. These include a fast-track prosecution programme and fixed penalty notices.
And to try and build on this success Derbyshire County Council is inviting headteachers, governors and teachers to an Attendance and Achievement Conference on 10 May.
Guest speakers will include Ian Thomas, Strategic Director Children and Younger Adults, who will talk about the council’s Journey to Excellence strategy.
There will also be chance to learn about the new Ofsted framework and how organisations can work together to tackle attendance issues.
Workshops will include supporting children with health issues, identifying troubled families and the council’s new anti-bullying award for schools.
There will also be chance to hear from a primary headteacher and secondary assistant principal and two educational psychologists about how schools can support pupils to attend.