Dear Parents, Carers and School Colleagues,
I am writing directly to you to provide reassurance at the current time in relation to the coronavirus outbreak of COVID-19. Schools provide education and care to all pupils in our communities. School leaders and their staff are professionals who continue where possible to come into work and prioritise our children and young people because they deserve and thrive on the experiences that schools provide. I applaud their continued support for education in Pembrokeshire at this difficult time.
I have also become aware that a number of our school leaders and staff have been subjected to verbal abuse and online abuse for following the advice provided directly by the government. This is unacceptable. Where parents and families have genuine and legitimate concerns they should raise them through the school’s complaints policy.
All our schools are following the guidance provided by Public Health Wales and the Welsh Government in relation to school opening. The latest guidance is here. https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-educational-settings-guidance Closing our schools when we are currently able to provide sufficient staff would have a significant impact on our communities. This includes key workers particularly in our health service. If schools were closed at the current time many key workers would have no option but to stay at home and this would disrupt our health service. In due course we may have to change our position and that will be communicated via the council’s website and schools
Acting Director for Children and Schools
A child’s success at school is likely to be affected negatively if their attendance is poor. Those who do not attend regularly may fall behind in their learning leading to feelings of frustration and unhappiness. As an inclusive school we seek to provide environments in which all young people can flourish as a member of a happy, caring and safe community. It is our goal that each of our pupils attends school regularly and on time, making the most of the opportunities available to them. We believe that promoting positive behaviour and excellent attendance is the responsibility of the whole school and wider Community.
We promote positive behaviour and good attendance through our use of an appropriate curriculum which is geared to the child’s age and ability. We aim to create a learning community, which benefits from the positive behaviour, regular attendance and well-being of its pupils and staff. Good attendance and behaviour are recognised and praised.
All children should be at school, on time, every day that it is open, unless the reason for absence is unavoidable. Schools have a legal duty to publish attendance figures and to promote attendance. Equally, parents have a duty and responsibility to ensure that their children attend school on a regular basis.
It is acknowledged that all children are sometimes reluctant to attend school. Any problems, which arise with attendance, are best resolved between the school, the parents and the child. If a child is reluctant to attend it is inappropriate to cover up this absence or to give into pressure to excuse them from attending. This gives the parents and the child the impression that attendance does not matter and in fact will only make the situation worse.
Non-attendance is an important issue that is treated seriously. However, every case is different and we will always try to support families to improve the situation. By working in partnership, it is our hope that every pupil achieves at least over 96 %, whilst our expectation is that our pupils will be in school 100% of the time.
Please note that Holidays are no longer regarded as an authorised absence. Any holidays taken during term time will be marked as unauthorised and a form will need to be requested from school and completed before the holiday is due to commence.