School pupils celebrate

Schools’ success with behaviour and attendance

Attendance at Liverpool’s secondary schools is at an all-time high, and the number of permanent exclusions across the city’s education system has halved since 2011.

Data in the city’s Annual Attendance and Behaviour Report for 2012/13 reveals that the number of pupils in secondary lessons reached 93.34 percent– up 0.23 percent on the previous year. Seven in 10 schools saw an improvement.

However, primary attendance dipped slightly by 0.31 percent to 94.69 percent due to extensive bouts of illness, although 32 percent of schools increased attendance levels.

Persistent absence (pupils missing more than 15 percent of lessons) also dropped in both sectors – down from 9.92 percent to 8.54 percent in secondary schools and from 5.3 to 5.17 percent in primary schools.

And the number of unauthorised holidays fell for the third consecutive year, following a concerted effort by schools to encourage parents not to take their children out of school in term time. Overall, they accounted for 3.53 percent of absences.

In total, there were 64 permanent exclusions – down four on the previous year – meaning just one in a thousand pupils were completely removed from schools. This is a drop of 50 percent since 2010/11.

However, although the number of 5-11 year olds who were removed from classes permanently went down by 66 percent, from 15 to just 5, in secondary schools it rose year on year – up from 53 to 58.

Councillor Jane Corbett, Cabinet member for education, said: “I am particularly pleased at the success we are having in improving attendance in secondary schools and reducing absence caused by holidays in term time.

“We are making progress through our strong working relationship with schools and giving parents the best possible support.

“It is also encouraging that the figures show that it really is only a minority of pupils who are permanently excluded from schools.

“We are not complacent and are continuing to work hard with parents, carers and pupils to overcome the often complex reasons why they do not attend school as much as they could.

“Every young person who does not attend or is excluded is damaging their chances of a successful future.”

Nine out of 10 permanent exclusions were boys, with the most common reason being continual disruptive behaviour.

The Fair Access Panel, which works to reintegrate excluded pupils into education, had an 81 percent success rate in 2012/13.

The number of fixed term (temporary) exclusions has gone up to 1,235 – a rise of 67 compared to the previous year, mainly due to an increase in secondary schools. Over three quarters of the pupils were suspended just once.

The report will be considered by the Education and Children’s Services select committee on Thursday 9 January.