A recent report undertaken by the BBC has excavated alarming figures that absence rates are not improving across schools in the United Kingdom. Data from the Autumn and Spring terms of this academic year show that 10.4% of children were ‘persistently absent’ compared to 10.3% in the same period last year. For a child to fall under this category, they have to be recorded as absent for more than 10% of the selected timescale.
BBC reporters interviewed a handful of young people who are known as common absentees from their school setting and a variety of reasons were given for their truancy. Some pinpointed mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression, whilst others admitted they were not interested in many, or any, of their subjects.
However, the majority of young people felt they had not received enough support from schools with teachers currently overloaded with planning, marking and assessments.
Such concerns are an area Evolve Health Mentors are fighting to rectify. Mental health problems are commonplace for young people as they are for older generations. Thus, these specially trained role models are deployed to spend time supporting children with anxiety, stress or depression.
The sheer prospect of entering the school gates is one that some young people struggle to cope with. Health Mentors are also deployed to ‘meet and greet’ on the school gates or develop ‘wake and shake’ activities to give students a positive and active start to the school day. In some cases, ‘walking buses’ have been utilised to pick up children from their home and provide them with a friendly face to walk to school with. Evidence has already proven that such measures have resulted in better attendance figures for the school.
These recent figures will certainly be a concern for the government and measures need to be undertaken in all schools to ensure children enjoy the prospect of walking through the classroom doors every Monday-Friday for 39 weeks of the year.