Let's get attendance back on track - Cardiff Council launches new school attendance drive



Cardiff Council has launched a drive toimprove standards of school attendancewith the aim that all children and young people across the city have the best chance of achieving, despite the disruption to education caused by the pandemic.

In partnership with schools, the new campaign highlights that lost days of learning really do add up and reminds families that every day in school matters, with regular school attendance playing an important part in helping learners to achieve more and improve attainment during their school lives and beyond.

Prior to schools closing in March 2020 due to COVID-19, a statutory report to Welsh Government showed primary school attendance in Cardiff was at 94.8% and secondary school attendance was at 93.2%. The current picture for the period of 2021-22 has declined to 89.4% for primary schools and 88.5% for secondary schools.

This decrease is a familiar picture replicated across Wales with a number of contributing factors identified as reasons for poor attendance. They include;

-         a greater number of pupils experiencing anxiety as a barrier to attending school and for those with previous mental health conditions, an exasperated situation due to lock downs which in some cases has resultedin more serious health problems.

-         families with a poor attitude to attendance have become further entrenched and often a more casual approach to attendance from other families has emerged.

-         More challenging behaviours has led to an increase in exclusions and permanent exclusions

-         illness related absences and many parents feeling overly cautious about sending their children to school.

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry said: "Before the pandemic, Cardiff had made significant progress in improving attendance across our schools and this had been consistently good for a number of years. However, due to the significant disruption experienced by pupils and their schools during the pandemic, attendance levels have dropped with many learners still missing days regularly.

From the beginning of December 2022, Welsh Government reinstatedFixed Penalty Notices for non-school attendance.

"We all want our children and young people to have the best chances of achieving and Cardiff's new attendance campaign encourages schools, pupils and their families to work together to get attendance back on track. Specialist support is available from a range of different teams and pupils and families can access help and advice on all matters relating to attendance.

"Although the return of Fixed Penalty Notices will not be required at all schools, some may find this will help to re-focus families and schools will ensure that all avenues to engage families have been explored prior to any request."

Every school has access to a School Attendance Officer and an allocated Education Welfare Officer who can help and support any difficulties with a child's attendance at school.

For more information

Cardiff Family Advice and Support also offers a range of information, advice and assistance for children, young people and their familiesCardiff Family Gateway - Cardiff Family Advice and Support : Cardiff Family Advice and Support (