Benefits of regular attendance
Isle of Anglesey County Council recognises that regular school attendance has a positive effect on children and young people and a strong impact on learner outcomes, standards, and progression.
Within this, regular attendance supports the development of literacy and numeracy skills, and the conceptual understanding needed for further study and success in the workplace.
Analysis shows that educational outcomes link strongly to attendance rates, for example, where a modest increase in absence can lower outcomes. Lessons missed can mean missing key information, skills, and ideas. Being late on a regular basis can also cause social as well as academic problems.
Social skills, confidence and self-esteem: wellbeing
Good attendance also has a positive effect on wellbeing. Establishing good attendance patterns from an early age is vital for social development.
For example, the more time a child spends with other children in the classroom and as part of broader school-organised activities, the more chance they have of making friends, of feeling included, and of developing social skills, confidence and self-esteem.
Very negative effects of absence from school
On the other hand, extended absence from school is linked with behavioural and social problems.
These effects can be long lasting and can affect a young person’s mental health and their long-term life chances.
Absences can start a negative cycle, where learners start to be absent for reasons such as bullying or not coping with schoolwork, with prolonged absence only likely to make the situation harder to resolve.
The inter-relationship between attendance and wellbeing is considered so strong that attendance is often considered a proxy measure for learner wellbeing. We ask parents to raise any concerns as early as possible with the school and engage with them in improving attendance.
On behalf of the Isle of Anglesey County Council, the Education Welfare Service (EWS) provides support for schools, learners and parents to ensure regular attendance and address problems relating to absence.
The service liaises with other agencies and provides an important link between home and school, helping parents and teachers to work in partnership.
Usually, schools refer cases to the Education Welfare Service. However, children and families can directly self-refer by either contacting the Education Welfare Officer at the local school, by telephoning 01286 679 007 or by emailing GweinyddolADYaCh@gwynedd.llyw.cymru
What you can do as a parent
Take an interest
Take an active interest in your child’s school life and work. Talk regularly with your child about school and how they feel about it. Find out if they are struggling in any way and offer your support. They are more likely to attend if they feel supported and that their worries are listened to. If you can't help them, speak to the school and let them know of any difficulties.
Attend parents’ evenings and other school events when possible.
Make sure your child is on time
Make sure your child is punctual to school or to catch the school transport to school. Praise good attendance; even small successes, such as arriving promptly, even when the first lesson is their least favourite.
Know routines of the school day to avoid issues, for example, have they got their PE kit?
Reporting an absence
Phone the school on the first day of absence to tell them why your child is absent, and when you expect them to return.
If your child is away for other reasons like a doctor's appointment or the dentist, let the school know in advance and show them a copy of the appointment text or card.
Putting the school number in your phone can save you time. Ensure that you know the school’s routine for telling you about an absence.
Make sure that your child only misses school for reasons which are unavoidable or are agreed and understood by the school.
Booking holidays during school time
Avoid booking family holidays during school time.
If this is not possible to avoid, then you must talk to the school and get an answer prior to booking a holiday.
If there is a problem with your child’s attendance
Talk to your child
Whilst you should ensure your child knows that you do not approve of them missing school for any reason, be on the alert for any particular reasons for not attending. If there is a problem with your child’s attendance, talk calmly to your child and listen to the explanation. There is always an explanation. It may not impress you, but it counted enough to your child to make them stop going to school.
Be particularly watchful and supportive in the run up to tests and be aware of coursework deadlines. Help them catch up with missed work - a missed day doesn’t have to mean missed work.
Looking for the reason for not going to school is important.
If you suspect that your child may be missing school or is unhappy at school, you can contact the school or the Education Welfare Service who can help resolve difficulties and offer friendly advice.
Talk to the school - you are not alone
Talk to the school if you are concerned that your child may be reluctant to go to school. They may be able to help and support you and your child and resolve issues. They may also be able to make a referral to the Education Welfare Service for more support for your child and for yourself. You are not alone.
It is important that you try to get help for attendance issues as soon as possible before the concerns get bigger and harder to resolve.
If there are no valid reasons for non-attendance, then there are legal measures that may be started which can include the issue of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) and/or school Education Act prosecutions.
Again, if you have a concern about any of these matters please get in touch with the school or Education Welfare Service as soon as possible.