School measures to improve attendance include prize draws, fines and sending children in with coughs and colds

South Park Primary School. Pic: Google Streetview

South Park Primary School. Pic: Google Streetview - Credit: Archant

A £100 prize draw, regular meetings, fines and less time off sick are some of the methods being used to improve attendance at one primary school.

South Park Primary School, Water Lane, Seven Kings, sent a letter to parents warning of the consequences of keeping youngsters off school.

In the letter, headteacher Debbie Keigwin wrote “attendence this year is well below what I would expect”.

She warned children who missed school would find work harder, not feel part of hte class group, find it harder to make and keep friendships and forget what they had learned.

Ms Keigwin also warned parents and carers may be fined for their absences.

The letter said from September, chidlren with attendance below 90 per cent would be classed as “persistent absentees”, meaning the council’s educational welfare officer would be involved and the child’s name would be part of a report “held at the school and at the local authority”.

The letter said in order to improve attendance, the school was reducing the 48 hour rule for sickness and diarrhoea to 24 hours, and said it was “not acceptable” to keep children off sick with a cough or cold.

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“It is far better to send them in a little under the weather than to have time off,” said the letter.

And the school will also enter any children with a 100pc attendance into a prize draw to win £50 of vouchers each half term, and a £100 draw for a year.

Government figures from last academic year 2013-14 show Redbridge had an average 4.2pc of sessions missed compared to 3.9pc across primary schools in England.

But the statistics also showed the borough had a lower than average number of persistent absentees, at 1.8pc, compared to the English average 1.9pc and the London average of 2pc.

Speaking to the Recorder, Ms Keigwin insisted there “wasn’t a particular problem” with attendance at the school and said South Park just wanted to improve.

“We always do prizes for attendance,” she said. “It is below what we had last year, but it may go up.

“We just want to be even better.”

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