Pupils from Thanet Primary School with Rufus Robin, the Hull Kingston Rovers mascot.
Pupils from Thanet Primary School were paid a visit by Rufus Robin, the Hull Kingston Rovers mascot.

Rufus Robin and Airlie Bird swoop into Hull schools in new drive to tackle school attendance issues

Primary school pupils across Hull will be visited by the familiar mascots of Hull FC and Hull KR, as Hull City Council and its partners strive to shine a light on the issue of school attendance.

In the year to date, around 22% of children in England were persistently absent – that is children missing 10% or more of possible sessions. In the Hull, this figure sits at 25%, above the national average.

The council has partnered with the Hull FC Foundation and the Hull KR Foundation to raise awareness and drive the conversation about the barriers to school attendance.

School attendance is the responsibility of many different people, including parents, young people, schools, carers, grandparents, the council and other agencies who support children and young people.

While school attendance is a legal requirement, attending school also helps children achieve their potential and improves their future life prospects.

It’s time to talk; if parents or carers are worried about their child’s attendance due to emotional wellbeing issues, the advice is to speak with their child’s school as soon as possible so they can start to identify possible adjustments and support.

The Venn Academy Trust, who run many schools across Hull, are hosting a two-day learning conference in November for teachers, support staff and senior leaders on social, emotional and mental health (SEMH). Attendees will learn how they can create and deliver a culture that better supports students with SEMH.

Later this month, Sol Attendance, experts in issues affecting school attendance, will be offering a workshop to all Designated Safeguarding Leads in Hull on school attendance, focusing on best practice and support for all children with attendance concerns.

In addition, the council and NHS have committed to purchasing the ‘ATTEND Framework’ which was developed by the Brighton and Hove educational psychology team. It’s strongly endorsed by the parents of children who face barriers to attendance, as well as Hull’s Learning Partnership. It will support schools in accurately identifying the cause of low attendance and working with families to find ways around these.

Councillor Linda Tock, the portfolio holder for Children’s Services at Hull City Council said: “School attendance and punctuality are key to enabling our children to achieve what they want to achieve. By opening up an honest dialogue between children and the adults they trust, we can understand and start to tackle the reasons why their attendance is suffering, or intervene before they begin to miss school. We hope our residents will join us in raising awareness and having more open-minded conversations about school attendance.”

For more information on services that are available to support young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health needs in Hull, here are some useful links:

  • www.howareyoufeeling.org.uk is a local website with information about services in Hull to support children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health.
  • To find out more about emotional wellbeing and mental health services available for children and young people in Hull, Hull and East Yorkshire Mind can be contacted on 01482-240133.
  • Families from Hull can also make a request to Early Help for broader support.
  • Young Minds are a national charity that support the mental health and wellbeing of young people.
L:R: Jane Jones, KWL Fleet; Neil Hulks, Hull City Council Passenger and Operational Transport Manager; Tony Craggs, KWL Fleet; Cllr Mark Ieronimo, Portfolio Holder for Transport, Roads, Highways; Sally Jarvis, KWL Fleet; Gemma Livesey, KWL Fleet.
4 young female dancers dressed in grey pose on stage