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Aberdeenshire pupils praised for attendance levels

By David Porter

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Members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee have this week congratulated children, young people, and staff for continued high levels of attendance despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

A report presented to the committee outlined attendance had increased in all areas during 2020/21.

Attendance in Aberdeenshire schools was 94.9 per cent in 2020/21, which was one per cent higher than 2019/20 and two percent higher compared with the national figure for 2020/21.

Authorised absence decreased from 4.6 per cent in 2019/20 to 3.8 per cent in 2020/21 and unauthorised absence declined from 1.5 per cent in 2019/20 to 1.2 per cent in 2020/21.

Absence from school in 2020/21 due to Covid-19-related sickness (with and without home learning) was very low at just 0.6 per cent and absence from school due to self-isolation (with and without home learning) was 0.95%.

Committee members also approved the Promoting and Management of Pupil Attendance in Educational Establishments Policy, which will be implemented at schools across Aberdeenshire from the start of session 2022/23.

The policy outlines procedures to follow to encourage good attendance, manage pupil absences, and ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people should they be missing from school, ensuring a consistent approach across Aberdeenshire.

Feedback about the policy was very positive. The Pupil Participation Forum, parents and carers, teachers and senior council officers were among those consulted. Pupils were also asked for their views about how the policy adhered to their rights as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Councillor Gillian Owen
Councillor Gillian Owen

Councillor Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee chair, said: “On behalf of the committee I congratulate and applaud all children and young people across Aberdeenshire for their continued attendance despite the restrictions in place due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

"I am also grateful to teachers, staff, parents and carers for the role they have played in ensuring children and young people attend school regularly.”

Committee vice chair Anne Simpson added: “Absence for any reason is disruptive to any child or young person’s learning. It is therefore great that this new policy has been adopted, offering consistency and clarity across the board.”

To read both reports councillors considered in full please visit https://committees.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/committees.aspx?commid=494&meetid=20094

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