Belfast primary school incentivises pupils to improve attendance record with offer of free school trips
15 Dec 2016 00:00
In March 2016 the Education Minister Peter Weir launched the "Miss School = Miss Out" scheme, a strategy designed to improve pupil attendance across the country.
Increasingly, the importance of regular attendance of school is overlooked by parents, allowing children to skip lessons or even days of school.
Taking the bull by the horns, the Principal of Botanic Primary School in Belfast with one of the worst attendance records in the city, introduced a different type of strategy with remarkable results.
The premise was that pupils with an attendance record of 95% or better would receive a free school trip each term. This might be a visit to the cinema or an adventure centre. The results were nothing short of miraculous with fewer than one-third of the pupils eligible for the first trip, with the figure now standing at almost two-thirds of children.
Senior teacher Carol Thompson, who organises the activities, said: "At the beginning we only needed one bus, because maybe two to three years ago we only had about 50 children coming."
"This has been such a success that in January we will be taking 63% of the school."