A SCHOOL is sending teachers round to knock on doors when kids fail to show up for class.
Cumberland Community School staff make daily visits to anyone without a legitimate reason for bunking off.
3Rima Sommers and son Jay, whose school has begun knocking on doors of pupils who fail to show upCredit: Supplied3Rima said her son was just being lazy when he didn’t want to go to schoolCredit: Supplied3Deputy headteacher Amy Brown and headteacher Ekhlas Rahman in the ‘battle bus’Credit: SWNSMum Rima Sommers, 51, from East Ham has a son at the secondary school in East London.
Jay, 13, was refusing to get out of bed until Miss Gardiner turned up at his door, mum said.
She said: “I was shocked when the school told me his attendance was on something like 57 percent. He has missed like seven Tuesdays in a row.
“I had tried to get him out of bed but he would just say he had a cold or something. Then he’d be in bed all day or on his computer.
“When the school phoned me I was totally honest. I said, there’s not a lot I can do if he doesn’t want to get up.
“I was very worried because I knew not going to school was going to impact his long term future.
“When the school came round they were excellent. I can’t fault them. Miss Gardiner was straight to the point. She said to him,’the school bus is outside, get ready, you’re going to school’.
“There was no farting around. He did give her a bit of attitude but she was was straight in there asking him what he had said and he soon quietened down.
“He did still give her a bit of attitude but she wasn’t taking it and he went to school, no problem. Now he goes in every day
“I don’t think he thought they would do it, come to the house. He thought there’d be a letter and that’s it. When they turned up he was shocked.
“When he called me that day after school it was like talking to a different kid. He was polite, the attitude had gone. It was all because the way he was dealt with.
“Sometimes as a parent you do need that additional support from the school. In my situation it worked very well.
“It was my son being pure lazy and not wanting to go to school but this is his future and he needs to be in school. It was nipped in the bud early.
“I know there might be other parents out there that wouldn’t appreciate it but at the end of the day if you care about your kid’s education and there’s an issue you can’t resolve on your own it’s great to have a school like this.”
Every morning after register come rain or shine, sleet or snow, staff are out in the school minibus, dubbed the Battle Bus, knocking on the doors of absentee children.
Even if they have a note from a parent the school will still knock on the door if the child is regularly off sick.
If the school knock and nobody answers then a teacher posts a note through the door.
If parents do not provide a reason for absence, the teacher doubles back for a visit later in the morning.
The policy, introduced by the Community Schools Trust which runs Cumberland Community School, is also about checking if the family needs support, the Head Teacher said.
The hardline approach has seen the school transformed from among the worst performing to the best in the country for GCSE results.
Cumberland Community School is famed for helping students win £2m in scholarships to fee-paying schools including Eton College.
Headteacher Ekhlas Rahman said: “The reality is that non-attendance at school can have a devastating impact on a child’s education and their life chances.
“When children are not at school, they are missing out on learning that is crucial to their future development.
“They are falling behind their peers, they are increasingly likely to fail their exams and are therefore less likely to take the next step in their education.
“Over the years school have got use to the most outrageous excuse for not being at school. Frankly, it is not good enough.
“To make this work we go out knocking on the door in the morning to get the students out of bed.
“These visits also gives our teachers the chance to talk to families in a personal way to discover what are the barriers for their children coming to school.”
The government announced a crackdown on low school attendance but local council say they don’t have capacity to meet the demand for attendance officers.
Last autumn, 23.5 per cent of pupils missed more than 10 per cent of sessions, up from 13.1 per cent in pre-pandemic 2019, it was reported by Schools Week.
Dame Rachel de Souza, the children’s commissioner, has also warned of between 80,000 and 100,000 pupils dropping off school rolls.
CEO of the Community Schools Trust Simon Elliott: “You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to work out if you don’t attend school it’s will have a detrimental impact on your learning.
“This is especially important in areas like Newham where there are many social problems associated with inner city poverty and deprivation.
“When children are not at school often they are putting themselves in situations which could be dangerous or damaging.
“Those doorstep conversations are crucial to make sure we are offering the right kind of support to families.”
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk