Attendance up and exclusions down

School pupils celebrate

Attendance at schools in Liverpool is at a record high while the number of pupils being excluded has dropped by more than forty percent over the last year.

The council’s annual behaviour and attendance report for 2011-12 shows that overall attendance for primary schools stands at 95 percent – an improvement of 0.89 percent on the previous year. In secondary schools it is 93.11 percent – an increase of 0.94 percent.

A total of 26 of the city’s 29 secondary schools improved their overall attendance, while 113 of the 123 primaries did better.

The most common cause of absence was illness, and pupils missing lessons due to taking holidays in term time fell in the secondary sector to 3.69 percent from 4.37 percent, but rose in primaries – up to 9.87 percent from 9.65 percent.

The number of permanent exclusions is the lowest since 2006, falling 41 percent in secondary schools – down from 90 to 53, and 40 percent – from 25 to 15 – in primary schools.

The most common reason was continual disruptive behaviour. Boys heavily outweigh girls, accounting for 79 percent in secondary schools and 93 percent in primary schools.

Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet member for education, said: “These figures are extremely encouraging and I am pleased that we are making progress through our strong working relationship with schools and giving parents the best possible support.

“We hear and read a great deal about the behaviour of young people, but the figures show that it really is a minority of pupils who are permanently excluded from schools – just 0.04 percent in primary schools and two in a thousand in secondary schools.

“It is important though that we are not complacent as it is vital that pupils spend as much time as they can in school. Every pupil who does not attend or is excluded is damaging their chances of a successful future.”

The number of fixed term (temporary) exclusions fell around a third in the autumn and spring terms of 2011/12 – down to 1,168 from 1,585 the previous year. And the number of pupils receiving more than fixed term exclusion fell by around a third.

The figures come after a recent Ofsted inspection of the city’s Secondary Education Centre in Netherley, which takes in pupils that are at risk of or have been excluded, rated it as “good with outstanding features”.

Last year, the council established a Behaviour Services Review Group with headteachers, officers and practitioners which analyses data and provision to help with further improvement.

The report will be considered by the council’s Children’s Services Select Committee on Thursday 10 January.