Student walking to school

It might not seem it at the time, but going to school is one of the most important things we’ll ever do. It could shape the rest of our lives.

On the flip-side, not going could shape our lives too…and not in a good way.

So Wrexham Council is working closely with schools, parents and pupils to try and help children and young people attend school every day.

Every day makes a difference

So what’s the big deal about missing school? Do a few days here and there really matter?

Think about this…

Children who regularly go to school learn more, and tend to be more successful in all areas of life.

Children who don’t go regularly do less well in their exams, find it difficult to maintain friendships and are more likely to be involved in crime.

They’re also more likely to miss out on college, university and job opportunities when they leave school.

So apart from illness, all other absence should be kept to a minimum. The time we spend at school can have a massive impact on our lives.

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Getting ready for the world of work

It’s not all about exams and qualifications either. The world of work is increasingly competitive and employers value good attendance and punctuality.

In other words, they want people who will turn up…on time.

Children and young people are expected to attend school 190 days-a-year. That’s 38 weeks out of 52. If they can do that, they’re investing in their future…and learning the discipline it takes to get and hold down a job.

How do we help pupils get back on track?

When a child is really struggling, education social workers will help the school implement a six-week attendance plan.

The plan will include targets for pupils and parents to help them increase their attendance over time.

We recently spoke to one young person who benefitted from a bit of help and support.

Read what they had to say…

“Go and talk to someone”

How did you feel about school when you didn’t attend regularly?

“My mum was really poorly with a brain tumour. I was crying a lot and I felt really nervous because I didn’t want to leave my mum.

“My mum had to walk with me to school and I would grab onto her and not let her go…because I didn’t want to leave her or go into school.

“I felt anxious about going to high school because I’d just left Year 6 and it seemed scary.

“It was worse when I had to go back into school after school holidays and weekends. I was really nervous about going back then…because I’d spent time with my mum and then I had to leave her again.”

What kind of support did you get to help you come into school more often?

“I spent a lot of time talking with the attendance support officer at my school and so did my mum. My mum went out for coffee with her because my mum was worried about me too.

“I didn’t have many friends then…and so I would go to the education social worker’s room at break-times and lunch-times for a chat with the education social worker and the attendance support officer.

“They helped me a lot and I started to trust them. I trust them a lot now. They would let me ring my mum at home to check she was ok when I was worried about her.

“I liked this idea because it helped me to stop worrying so much about my mum and it helped my mum to stop worrying so much about me too.”

How do you feel about school now?

“I’ve made some new friends from different schools and I’ve told them about my situation – about what’s happened – and they listened to me.

“They have been really kind to me. I feel much happier in school now and I’ve got more confidence.

“Everyone has been really supportive of me and this has helped me a lot.

“I can still go and see the attendance support officer or the education social worker if I’m worried or anxious, which helps me.”

What would you say to other pupils who are struggling to attend school? Is there any advice you could give?

“Go and talk to someone so you don’t feel alone or scared. Ask for help. Find someone you can trust and they will help you.

“Don’t be scared of going to high school. It’s not as scary as people think.”

Don’t let problems fester

Ian Roberts, Chief Officer for Education and Early Intervention at Wrexham Council, says: “As a parent, one of the most important things we can do for our children is to make sure they attend school.

“We all want our children to have the best chance in life, and that starts with education. Every day in school is an investment in their future.

“School is the place where children learn to form friendships, work as a team, work to a schedule and be on time.

“Those skills will help them prepare for the future, whether it is studying for further qualifications, becoming an apprentice or securing a job…as well as coping with the challenges of day-to-day life.”

Where to get help

If you’re worried about your child’s attendance, talk to someone who you trust at their school.

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