December 17th 2012
Following an email recieved on our school website regarding the article in The News on Friday, please see below the reply from Mrs Diane Lawry:
"We obviously cannot comment on an individual case but we would like to clarify a couple of general points for you. The way that every school records absence is dictated by law and the daily register is a legal document which can be used in a court of law. Schools follow strict guidelines about absences which can be authorised such as those for illness, medical appointments and even some holidays. Other absences cannot be authorised such as the illness of a parent or another child in the family. Every child is then given an overall atendance percentage based on the sessions they have been in school.
The trip referred to in the news was a specific trip to Birdworld which was organised last July specifically to celebrate 100% attendance. The school was working hard to improve attendance in general as this had been an Ofsted issue. Clearly, children who are not in school for whatever reason cannot access their full educational entitlement and so we were working hard to ensure that all children were here as much as possible. All the children in the school were trying to win a large stuffed penguin for their class by having the best attendance that week. We decided to adopt a penguin at Birdworld and the children were aware all year that those children who managed to achieve 100% attendance would be taken to see the penguins there. In fact, just four of our children went on that trip. Most trips are open to all children, regardless of attendance. The only exception to this may be if we are competing in an event with other schools such as a mathematics or writing challenge or a sporting challenge when a selected group of children may attend.
At present there is no plan to run another trip for attendance although it is something that we have said we will ask the parents about as we try and seek their opinions in these matters."