Nova Hreod College, in Swindon is taking a proactive approach to tackling unauthorised absence with Truancy Call (www.truancycall.com) – technology which allows school staff to make first-day contact with parents of absent children by email, text message and voice calling. This technology is also helping the school meet the Government’s 2008/09 National Attendance Strategy, safeguarding pupil welfare by making the school and parents aware as soon as a child goes missing.
Over 13 million school half days are lost due to unauthorised absence across the UK each year. The Government has set a target to reduce absence rates so that by 2011 no local authority will have more than 5% of its secondary school pupils as persistent absentees.
Maintaining good communication with parents is key to the success of a school’s anti-truancy strategy, so schools should engage them in the very earliest stages of absenteeism. By installing Truancy Call, Nova Hreod school – a secondary school with over 1,200 pupils – is taking positive steps to achieve this.
Once registration has been completed, the Truancy Call system automatically calls, texts or emails parents until a response is received. Once a response is received any further calls that day are stopped automatically.
Amanda Clegg, Deputy Head Teacher at Nova Hreod College said: “Truancy Call is so effective because it’s immediate. It has freed up time for the Attendance Officer who no longer has to be on the phone all the time and it has made a real difference to our unauthorised absence levels. We have had a very pleasing reaction from the parents as the system reminds them that they must inform the school straight away if their child is absent. Previously we had to call all the parents individually but now we press a button and Truancy Call does the job for us.”
Stephen Clarke, Managing Director of Truancy Call, commented: “Nova Hreod College appreciates the necessity of contacting parents on the first day of their child’s absence. If the Government and schools are to continue successfully tackling truancy, it is vital that they implement early prevention strategies, so that children taking the odd day off here and there can be quickly identified, and the problem resolved before it gets to a stage when a child is persistently truanting.”
Nova Hreod College, in Swindon, is also taking a proactive approach to improving communication with parents by installing Call Parents (www.callparents.com). This technology allows school staff to send texts, automated phone calls and emails to inform parents regularly about their child’s progress and school activities such as parents’ evenings and closures. Should parents not own a mobile phone, Call Parents translates the text into voice and delivers it to a landline phone.