22/04/2022 - Permalink

Campaign launches to encourage children and young people to return to education

Related topics: Children's services / Coronavirus / Health

Shropshire Council’s children’s services have today launched a new campaign to help children and young people return to school or their educational setting.

The Let’s get our children back in education campaign, is a call to action to help address the increase of school absences caused by the pandemic, and to offer support to parents/carers and children to help address the barriers that prevent young people returning to education.

The campaign will focus on:

  • Outlining the need for good attendance in Early Years, school, and Post-16 education
  • Offering support to families for parenting skills (eg sleep patterns, hygiene)
  • Support to help overcome parental and pupil anxiety related to attendance.

Improving attendance for all children and young people (ages 4-18) is a national priority outlined by the DfE, after the effects of the pandemic. Shropshire needs to recover attendance levels to the high level achieved before the pandemic, and then even make them even better.

We are also encouraging all eligible families to access their free Early Years education entitlement for 2 year olds, and all families to access the free Early Years education entitlement for 3 year olds and 4 year olds, so that our youngest children have the earliest opportunity to enjoy early learning opportunities.

This has positive impacts for mental health of children, young people, families; and similar impacts on achievement levels, safety, and welfare. When children are unable to attend school it also impacts the ability of parents/carers to work, therefore impacting their financial stability and the local economy. 

Kirstie Hurst-Knight, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for children and education, said:-

“We know that school attendance is key to achieving good educational outcomes, and want to encourage attendance at school every day, so that we start children and young people off with good habits that build up into adulthood.

“We want to celebrate families who are doing this already, but we also want to work with families who are finding this difficult and have developed our helpline to support them.

“While we are proud that Shropshire is still above the national average for school attendance, we recognise this is lower than in pre-pandemic times. We understand living through the pandemic has had an impact on children’s and young people’s motivation and drive when it comes to returning to school or educational settings, and want to encourage everyone to play their part in supporting our children, young people and families as we learn to ‘Live with COVID-19’.

“We know it’s not easy to get out of this routine, but we can help you to get the right support to help your child break the cycle and reunite with friends.

“If you are struggling to return to education or you are a parent or carer whose child is finding it hard to return, we are here to help.

“Take that first step today and let’s get our children back in education.”

Whatever reason is stopping your child from going to school or their educational setting, we’re here to help.

Call our helpline on 0345 678 9008 (select option 5) or drop us an email via customerfirst@shropshire.gov.uk 

Further information

Pre-pandemic data confirmed that, although attendance in Shropshire exceeded the national average, the gap was diminishing year on year: action is needed to keep Shropshire above the national average.

Data from during the last two terms confirmed that absence from school due to confirmed and suspected COVID-19 was higher than our statistical neighbours.

The Education White Paper (published March 2022) states: “Children with no absence at KS4 are almost twice as likely to achieve 5 or more GCSEs than 10-15% of lessons missed.”

“Education recovery in EY”, published in April 2022, highlighted the impact of coronavirus and absence on pre-school children, including “Children’s social and friendship-building skills have been affected. Some providers reported that toddlers and pre-schoolers needed more support with sharing and turn-taking”.