Project launched to improve Wyre Forest school attendance after pandemic drop

Pupil attendance has dropped five per cent in Wyre Forest secondary schools since the pandemic, new figures have shown.

The new steering group is determined to get attendences up
The new steering group is determined to get attendences up

The number of students missing 10 per cent or more of their lessons has increased, with attendance at Kidderminster and Stourport schools falling.

Local headteachers are working with Worcestershire Children First, which delivers children's services for Worcestershire County Council, to increase attendance to at least pre-pandemic levels.

The Wyre Forest Re-engage project will see schools and Worcestershire Children First working together on various ways to re-engage families and their children in education, to improve attendance and raise aspirations, particularly in Kidderminster and Stourport.

Matthew Carpenter, principal of Kidderminster’s Baxter College, who gave a presentation at the project’s launch, said: “The area has suffered the steady demise of the carpet industry over the last few decades and families can no longer rely on the benefits of employment experienced by previous generations.

“A lack of educational ambition and limited aspirations are typical of many vulnerable families and something we have worked hard to address in our high schools over recent years, but the pandemic has had a significant impact on our progress, with worrying signs of a slump in engagement in education.”

Key to the project is the appointment of a community attendance officer who is to analyse attendance data, assess existing processes, advise and guide schools, share best practice and support schools in developing relationships with their communities and external agencies concerning attendance.

Mr Carpenter added: “It is hoped that by having school-based action plans alongside a community-based strategy, and that by working together, we can re-engage students and their families, so they see the importance of education in enhancing their life chances.”

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