Twenty-two students from 16 schools across Northern Ireland were celebrated at the Education Authority’s (EA) 4th Annual ‘Celebration of Full Attendance at School’ event hosted by Coleraine Grammar School.
Young people were recognised at the event for their completion of either 12 or 14 years full attendance at school in June 2018.
Chair of the Education Authority, Sharon O’Connor, presented certificates to recognise completion of a perfect attendance record from primary through to secondary school.
“Approximately 22,000 young people complete their school journey each year when they finish year 12 or year 14. Not many can say that they have done so without missing a day at school. You can be truly proud of this outstanding achievement and this determination will continue to benefit you in later life.” said Ms O’Connor.
Speaking about the importance of good attendance, she said: “Raising standards in education and improving the opportunities available to our children is one of EA’s top priorities.
“Regular attendance at school maximises opportunities for young people by providing them with qualifications, experience and confidence for the best start in life.
“Whilst the majority of pupils do attend school regularly, there are some children and young people who struggle to attend for one reason or another.
“These young people need our help and support. EA’s Education Welfare Service – offers this help and support to parents, young people and schools,” she added.
EA Board Member and Chair of the CYPS Committee, Mrs Pat Carville OBE, commended the students and acknowledged the contribution of parents and carers in supporting strong school attendance.
“It is also important that we take a moment to recognise and congratulate the efforts of parents, carers and extended family who have played a significant role in helping you to realise your hopes and dreams, as you take strides towards the next phase of your lives. May I congratulate them also.”
In her closing remarks, Mrs Carville emphasised the benefits associated with pupils who attend school regularly.
She said: “Good attendance undoubtedly helps pupils succeed, but there are benefits beyond the attainment of qualifications.
“The formation of lifelong learning habits, the ability to make and maintain friendships and relationships, greater self-esteem, and a more active social life outside school are all benefits associated with pupils who attend regularly.”
Guests were treated to acoustic performances from three incredibly talented pupils – Scott McClelland, Johnny Holmes and Joel Fleming who performed cover versions by Ed Sheeran and George Ezra.
Students with Full Attendance – EA Ballymena Office Area
• Emma Kerr – Ballycastle High School, Co Antrim – (14 Yrs)
• Adam McCann – Ballyclare Secondary School, Co Antrim – (14 Yrs)
• David Hogg – Ballymena Academy, Co Antrim – (14 Yrs)
• Lucy Millar – Ballymena Academy, Co Antrim – (12 Yrs)
• Matthew Petticrew – Ballymena Academy, Co Antrim – (14 Yrs)
• Ryan Guy – Carrickfergus Academy, Co Antrim – (14 Yrs)
• Caitlin Leslie – Coleraine Grammar School – (14 Yrs)
• Rebekah Catherwood – Coleraine Grammar School – (12 Yrs)
• Allegra Shaw – Slemish College, Co Antrim – (14 Yrs)
Amy Boyle – St Louis Grammar, Ballymena – (14 Yrs)
There are 190 days in each school year.
In 2016, the Education Welfare Service, the specialist service that provides support for pupils, parents and schools on issues related to school attendance developed two resources; the ‘Moving Forward Project’ is a web based APP developed by young people, which aims to support and enhance the wellbeing of their peer group through various stages of transition in education.
‘School is Cool for Everyone’ is a puppet-based DVD aimed at improving attendance in Key Stage 1 in primary school. It can be used with both pupils and parents. Both these resources can be found on http://www.movingforward.me
Previously in 2015, the Education Authority’s Education Welfare Service launched ‘Miss School, Miss Out’ for parents and teachers which promotes the importance of attending school and highlights the impact of not engaging in education.
The key messages in the Miss School, Miss Out video were informed by research by Dr Kathryn Higgins and Dr Tara O’Neill of Queen’s University’s Institute of Childcare Research on the impact of poor school attendance in later life.
Miss School Miss Out is available at http://www.eani.org.uk/schools/miss-school-miss-out/ and compliments the Department of Education’s Parents Guide which has sent to every family in Northern Ireland. A ‘z-booklet’ which reinforces the messages contained in the video has also been produced ‘Miss School, Miss Out’ video .