Two months ago the Sentinel revealed parents were taken to court 189 times in the Western region over the past five years because their children were ‘dobbing’ school; now the Education Authority (EA) is launching a new campaign to emphasise that you miss out, if you miss school.
‘Miss School, Miss Out’ is a short video, which promotes the importance of attending school and highlights the impact of not engaging in education.
‘Miss School, Miss Out’ was launched at the EA Education Welfare Service’s (EWS) regional conference by Regional Managing Director Dr Clare Mangan.
“The Miss School, Miss Out video is an innovative resource that communicates directly with young people.
“It is easily accessible on smartphone or tablet and that accessibility will also be invaluable to schools, parents and other professionals working to improve attendance,” said Dr Mangan.
The event was the first EWS conference since the formation of the Education Authority which replaced the five Education and Library Boards in April 2015.
“The aim of the Education Welfare Service is to help young people and their families get the best out of the education system.
“The EWS regional conference has brought together all EA welfare service staff to examine ways in which we can improve our services to children, schools and families as we move from five separate services to one,” added Dr Mangan.
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 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.
The new resource will be used for parents, teachers and other professionals who work with children and is aimed at improving school attendance.
Back in October the Education Minister John O’Dowd revealed that the number of parents that were taken to court due to children being absent from school in the Western area over the past several years were as follows: 45 in 2010/11; 26 in 2011/12; 33 in 2012/13; 31 in 2013/14; and 54 in 2014/15.