A Canvey Island school is using SMS text messaging as part of its strategy to cut truancy rates.
Castle View School has implemented several measures, including a dedicated Attendance Officer working in the school, computerised lesson registration, and the sending of text messages to parents where pupils are in non-attendance.
Together, these measures have cut the truancy rate to just 0.5% — a significant improvement in the 900-strong school — and bucking the trend of higher truancy rates across England for 2006-7.
Of course, texting isn’t the single solution to these problems, but it has proved to be a deterrent to most pupils.
“We shall always have a degree of absence because of illness and unauthorised absence,” said Russell Sullivan, Headteacher at Castle View School. “However we are
confident that general truancy is identified and dealt with; we are delighted with the reduction in real truancy in a school of 900 pupils 0.5% represents a significant reduction, but a manageable number on which to focus. We all feel that the texting service has had a positive impact.”
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