Nantwich primary children missed more than 16,300 school sessions between them in 2011-12, figures reveal.

But attendance has improved in all but two primary schools in the area in the last three years, according to statistics.

Figures obtained by Nantwichnews under Freedom of Information reveal overall attendance rates for 13 schools.

These are Acton, Bridgemere, Highfields, Millfields, Pear Tree, Sound & District, St Anne’s, St Oswald’s Worleston, Stapeley Broad Lane, Weaver, Willaston, Wybunbury and Wyche.

Amazingly, the 16,301 session absences last year is an improvement on 2010-11, when 20,410 session absences were registered.

In 2009-10, this figure was 19,388, although pupil  numbers and possible sessions were lower in that year in all 13 schools.

Millfields showed the greatest improvement in pupil attendance in 2011-12 compared to the previous year.

In 2010-11, there were 3,090 registered absences – 6.9% of the overall number of sessions.

However, staff worked hard to reduce this to just 1,995 absence sin 2011-12, down to 4.9%.

And Millfields was the only school to crackdown on unauthorised absence, with four Fixed Penalty Notice warning letters being sent out to parents last year.

Pear Tree School in Stapeley registered the best attendance figures for 2011-12, with 2.6% absence rate out of the 45,612 sessions available.

Mary Hennessey Jones, headteacher at Pear Tree, said: “We are lucky we have great relationships with our parents and they are all very supportive.

“We ring up first thing if a child isn’t in, I stand outside and ring the bell sometimes to chivvy up any latecomers.

“I write to parents if the attendance is slipping below 95% and we check the levels every half term.

“Staff tell me if any child is regularly late and we work with parents if there are problems getting children in on time. The schools share a Family worker who helps with this too. All follow the advice given by the Educational Welfare Officers at Cheshire East and I’m a bit of a stickler about it.

“Sometimes I know I upset people by challenging them but it makes them think twice before they keep a child off.

“The most important issue though is to make school so worthwhile the children themselves don’t ever want to miss a day.

“We try to make every day a learning adventure and keep the curriculum rich and interesting.”

Wyche Primary had the highest absence figure last year, with 5.7% of absences among the 29,077 pupil sessions available.

Two schools where absence rose compared to 2010-11 were Sound & District, up from 841 absences (2.8%) to 923 (3.3%), and Wybunbury Delves, up from 1,379 (3%) to 1,625 (3.8%).

The statistics released by Cheshire East Council are for all absences. The authority says only individual schools hold information on how many absences were classed as “unauthorised”.

However, in 2011-12 three schools referred absence issues to the local authority – Pear Tree, St Oswald’s Worleston and Wyche.

There are two sessions in each school day, morning and afternoon, when register is taken.

Schools with higher pupil numbers will have more school sessions possible across the year.

See below for overall 2010-11 and 2011-12 figures:
primary school table

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