The new grant funding will be made available over two financial years, with £200,000 to be divided amongst the four consortia in 2012/13 and £600,000 in 2013/14.
This will be the first opportunity for consortia to work directly and jointly on attendance. Historically, this issue been dealt with at a local authority level.
In order to secure the funding, consortia will have to submit costed proposals to the Welsh Government, outlining the actions they intend to take to secure continued, long-term improvements in school attendance.
The new grant is designed to capitalise on progress already made in driving up levels of attendance across schools in Wales. Welsh Government figures for 2011/12 show that primary school attendance stood at 93.8 percent – an improvement of 0.5 percentage points on the previous year.
Figures for secondary school attendance in Wales showed a similar improvement, with overall attendance rate in Wales’ secondary schools in 2011/12 standing at 92.2 percent – a rise of 0.8 percentage points on the previous year.
The funding announced today will support regional consortia’s work with local authorities and schools in delivering improved and sustained levels of attendance.
Leighton Andrews said:
“It’s clear that the actions we are taking to reduce absenteeism from schools in Wales are having a positive impact.
“However, whilst it is encouraging to see an upturn in attendance rates this year there is still work to be done. We need to ensure local authorities and schools have the skills, confidence and capacity to sustain and build on these improvements.
“Persistent absenteeism has a detrimental effect on a child’s education. Put simply, when a child is not in school that child is not learning.
“The £800,000 of funding that I’m announcing today will support consortia to work with their authorities and schools to develop and embed effective practices which can secure long-term improvements in school attendance.”