Success! Tackling poor attendance in Gravesend

Success! Tackling poor attendance in Gravesend

News article from January 10, 2018

Thanks to a generous two-year grant from the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust, young people in Gravesend who need extra support to improve school attendance and engagement with education are benefitting from School-Home Support’s work.

School-Home Support practitioner, Claire Langridge, has been working with young people from St George’s CE School in Gravesend since January 2017. During this period, Claire has supported 81 young people, working closely with the school’s attendance officer and pastoral team. Claire writes:

“My role is distinct from that of other school staff. As an employee of School-Home Support, I am able to introduce myself to hard-to-reach families as a ‘neutral’ friend and advocate. I often act as mediator when families have an uneasy relationship with the school. Many of the young people I work with are battling multiple and complex issues at home. It takes a lot of hard work, creativity and perseverance, but there is nothing better than seeing a disengaged young person taking small positive steps towards a better future.”

As well as providing individual support to identified young people and their families, Claire has also been running regular attendance focus workshops with targeted groups. She has also delivered Anger Management sessions with nominated individuals – often an important aspect of a young person’s attention in the classroom.

The outcomes from the first 12 months speak for themselves:

  • 31 young people supported around behaviour: 75% of these improved their behaviour
  • 52 young people supported around engagement with learning: 77% of these improved their engagement with learning
  • 34 persistent absentees (i.e. attendance less than 90%) supported around school attendance: 82% improved attendance

The key to a young person’s future is generally the level of support they receive from their parents. Of the 41 parents supported by Claire during this period, 87.8% improved engagement with the school and 82.5% improved in their engagement with their child’s learning.

Michelle Smith, Deputy Head Teacher at St George’s CE School, told us:

“Claire is doing a fantastic job and it is clear that her support is having a fantastic impact on these young people’s engagement with learning. We are enormously grateful to Claire, to School-Home Support – and to the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust for making this project possible.”

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