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Great school attendance leads to fun in the sun

The smiles said it all as pupils at a Swansea Primary School were treated to an afternoon of outdoor fun activities to recognise their great attendance record.

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The youngsters at Waun Wen Primary enjoyed a picnic, played on bouncy castles and were entertained by a magician and Disney characters during an attendance festival held on Friday.

As part of Swansea Council's drive to encourage pupils to turn up to class regularly the school took part in a challenge with six neighbouring primary schools to see which one could achieve the best attendance rate.

Waun_attendance2It started in January and every week all the schools calculated their attendance records and each was ranked 1 to 7.

Over the course of this year Waun Wen emerged the winner with an overall attendance rate of 95.7% and took the top prize of having their own fun attendance festival.

Plasmarl came second and won a film session with popcorn while youngsters at Burlais will receive an ice cream each for finishing third.

Waun Wen head teacher Trui Williams said: "It is the first time that an initiative like this has happened in Swansea and it has generated a lot of enthusiasm from our pupils.

Waun-attendance3"Their parents and families have been very supportive and I would like to thank them for playing their part in helping us to win.

"The children had a great time. The festival included a lot of fun activities such as picnic in the neighbouring park, bouncy castles, soft play, an inflatable obstacle course, penalty shoot-out, giant playground games, water play, a magician, Cyril the Swan, Kev Johns from the Wave and Disney characters."

The competition is just one of a number of initiatives taking place in the city aimed at boosting school attendance at local schools. Evidence suggests there is a direct link between regular school attendance and educational achievement.

The last year has seen Swansea Council introduce its Incentivising Attendance Programme which gives all pupils with excellent or improving attendance records the chance to win prizes.

Four years ago attendance at primary schools in Swansea was highlighted by the Welsh Government's school inspectorate Estyn as an area for concern.

Since then, thanks to a concerted effort by Swansea Council's Education Department working with all schools, there have been sustained and dramatic improvements.

Cllr Jennifer Raynor, Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning, said: "A lot of effort has been made in the last few years to boost attendance rates and it's nice to see this competition was so keenly contested.

"We want all pupils in Swansea to reach their maximum potential in school and this can only happen if they attend regularly."


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