School attendance campaign launched

Aye, aye captain: Story-teller Carmel 'Captain Nobeard' Page entertains pupils at the launch of the campaign.                         PICTURE: STEVE ELLIS.

Aye, aye captain: Story-teller Carmel 'Captain Nobeard' Page entertains pupils at the launch of the campaign. PICTURE: STEVE ELLIS.

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FOUR primaries in a multi-ethnic Sheffield suburb have joined forces in a bid to crack down on poor school attendance levels in their area.

Children attending primaries in Darnall are absent for an average of 15 days every school year - which adds up to a full school year lost by the age of 16.

The schools signed up are Acres Hill, Greenlands Nursery Infant, Greenlands Junior and Phillimore.

Governors and staff are sending a leaflet to every family in the area, stressing how important it is for children to have an excellent attendance record from the youngest age.

Figures obtained by The Star earlier this year showed that during 2009-10 nearly 400 pupils took a full month or more off at a time, many on extended trips back to their families’ homelands.

As a result education officials warned parents on the consequences of taking their children out of school for long holidays abroad.

The leaflet being sent out, titled Every Child Matters - Every Day Counts, reminds parents that good attendance is vital for educational success. It also warns against taking holidays in term time.

Phillimore headteacher Angela Wild said: “We are really pleased local schools have worked together to produce this leaflet. We know good school attendance can improve the life chances of children in Darnall. The launch of the leaflet also involves lots of activities for our children.”

The leaflet is available in seven languages - English, Arabic, Bengali, Punjabi, Slovak, Somali and Urdu, and will also be distributed through community centres, libraries and GP surgeries.

The campaign was launched at Phillimore Primary with a story telling even and a presentation to a group of pupils with perfect 100 per cent attendance records.

The Darnall push also builds on a wider initiative launched across the city last month urging parents not to take holidays of any kind during term time.