Improve pupil engagement in learning at all stages

Our aim

Make sure children are happy, resilient and equipped with the skills to learn

Why is this an issue?

Our discussions with stakeholders across Stoke-on-Trent have had a strong common theme. The city has high levels of disadvantage; a mix of incoming communities and long-standing white British communities; and a distinctive geography and ’six towns culture‘ which can lend itself to insularity.

It’s difficult to measure engagement in learning, but we believe there are some strong indicators in Stoke-on-Trent:

  • rates of unauthorised absenteeism across the city at both primary and secondary phases are chronically high and persistent absenteeism is also above national averages. This may be symptomatic of the challenges some families are facing, and pupil/parental disengagement from education
  • there appear to be high levels of disruptive behaviour in the city’s classrooms. In 2015 to 2016, there were 1,855 fixed-term exclusions and 41 permanent exclusions, with persistent disruptive behaviour and physical assault against other pupils most commonly cited as the reason for exclusion

Partners suggest that there needs to be a more strategic, coherent approach to ensure that enrichment activities have a significant impact on children and young people’s engagement in the curriculum and their outcomes at level 2 and beyond.

What will we do?

The impact of absenteeism on educational attainment can be catastrophic. We want to be confident that all the city’s children are engaged in education and are benefiting from opportunities to build their understanding of the world and of how to achieve their aspirations.

We’ll offer enrichment activities outside the classroom to ensure that children and young people are switched on and ready to learn, and we’ll work to reduce absenteeism and fixed term exclusions. We’ll put in place 3 strands of work to realise this ambition with a particular focus on disadvantaged children, including those in Alternative Provision (AP) and those with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).

Find out more about our projects here.

Our targets for 2020 to 2021

In 2016, there were nearly 300,000 sessions missed in primary and over 170,000 sessions missed in secondary. We’ll reduce unauthorised absence rates by half in primary school (to 150,000) and by two-thirds in secondary schools (to below 57,000) so that StokeonTrent is in the top half of all local authority districts for pupils regularly attending school.

To find out more about our targets read our delivery plan here.