Norwich pupils rewarded for not missing a day of school

Steve DownesHundreds of Norwich children are set to be rewarded for not missing a single day of school in nine months.Steve Downes

Hundreds of Norwich children are set to be rewarded for not missing a single day of school in nine months.

Youngsters in five Norwich school clusters were challenged by Norfolk County Council attendance officers to attend every session from September 2009 to June 2010.

A remarkable 369 children from 30 schools rose to the challenge and will receive certificates at two forthcoming ceremonies at County Hall, in Martineau Lane.

The youngsters will also be entered into a prize draw to win one of three �25 Chapelfield vouchers.

Attendance officers have been working closely with the schools to improve attendance, which is a problem at some Norwich schools.

Among the most successful schools is Cavell Primary, in Duckett Close, Old Lakenham, which has 13 pupils celebrating 100pc attendance.

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Simon Wakeman, headteacher, said the school had employed its own attendance officer and worked closely with the council and parents to reduce absence levels. Parents now receive half-termly attendance cards, under a traffic light (red, amber, green) system.

Mr Wakeman said: 'We are seeing more and more green cards, which shows parents are recognising the importance of sending their children to school everyday, to maximise their potential.

'We know that there is a link between attendance and attainment, and we have been working very hard with parents to improve overall attendance, and in particular persistent absence, which has now more than halved.

'One of our main focuses has been around minor illness, particularly coughs and colds. We have asked parents to send their child in if they are a little under the weather and we will get in contact via phone or text if they are too unwell to stay at school. We often find they are fine once they have settled in and got down to work.'

Children from Cavell Primary will be presented with their certificates on Thursday and will be joined by children from the Hewett, Framingham Earl and Notre Dame clusters.

A second event will be held on Tuesday, July 6, involving pupils from the City of Norwich School and City Academy clusters.

Both events will begin at 5.45pm and the awards will be presented by Lisa Christensen, the council's director of children's services.

Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children's services, said: 'I would like to congratulate all of these young people for their attendance records. Every day and every lesson really does count and I am sure these young people will really reap the rewards of their outstanding attendance.'

Do you have a schools story? Call Steve Downes on 01603 772495 or email