Following a high number of term-time holiday requests from parents, Park Lane Primary School recognised that a change in parents’ attitudes was key to reducing unauthorised absence in schools. With the support of SIMS, the school has transformed attitudes to absence, successfully cutting term-time holiday requests by 50%.
The first step in tackling child absences and parents’ attitudes was to introduce a support tool in order to track attendance. Previously, the school used manual registers which made spotting patterns of absence difficult and resulted in much time taken up to administration. By replacing these with electronic registration, the school has benefited from having immediate access to real-time attendance information from across the school.
SIMS has also allowed the school office to enter reasons for absences against data, which is then displayed on the electronic register for teachers to see. Therefore, if parents do not call in to explain an absence, the school office is immediately alerted to this following registration and can investigate this far more easily and efficiently. Should a child’s attendance fall below 95% for example, the school can see this immediately and can access what is happening in detail.
Storing attendance data directly in SIMS has helped the school demonstrate the impact missed school days have on a child’s attainment. The school has found that parents' attitudes change rapidly when they are shown the total number of their child’s missed days on a computer screen. Since providing parents with access to data, requests for term-time holidays have fallen by 50% and unauthorised child absences have been successfully reduced.
Park Lane has introduced a number of attendance initiatives, but has found that the key to success is parental engagement and the ability to track attendance. As a result of using SIMS, the school is ensuring that parents are bringing their children to school regularly and limiting the number of unauthorised absence days children take.
Park Lane Primary School uses SIMS for registration and managing assessment.
Content for the above case study was provided by Val Cameron, Headteacher of Park Lane Primary School. Read Val’s full article, Tackling soaring primary school absence rates.