The Mayor, Councillor Ian McDonald, awarded medals to nearly 700 pupils who have not missed a day of school in the last year.
This follows government figures that revealed Kingston’s attendance rate is the highest, with the lowest rate of persistent absences, in the country.
During the ceremony, held at the Kings Centre Chessington, some of the children were recognised for their continual attendance over several years.
Alex Mackie (left) and Ryan Arnold (top right), from Coombe Boys School in New Malden, have not missed a day in the past five years and have received the award from five different mayors during this time.
Ryan's mother Karen said, “I am really proud of Ryan. Attending school is not just about attending school. It means children have the determination and make effort to do thing properly from very young age. Without determination and effort, young people will not fulfil their potential.”
Sarah Teece (pictured right), a Year 7 pupil of the Hollyfield School, has received the Mayor’s medal for the third year running and only missed it by one day before that.
Her mother, Mrs Wendy Teece, said that Sarah was incredibly proud that she has achieved this award for the third time. Mrs Teece said that the Mayor’s Award inspires young people to achieve good attendance which gives them the best possible chances in life.
“I am delighted that Sarah has achieved the Mayor Award for 100% attendance again this year. It is very important that children attend school every day because they will lose out if they don’t attend. We know good attendance links to high attainment”, she said.
Kingston Council has in the past few years enjoyed one of the best attendance outcomes in the country. The attendance rate has improved from 29th place in the country to the best nationally. Kingston is also one of the only four local areas in the country that did not have any school which is listed by the government as a “persistent absentee school”.
Kingston schools’ attendance rate in 2007/08 reached the highest level since there was a record of the borough’s pupil attendance. Building on that success, the absence rate was reduced even further this year. The most recent figures published by the government showed Kingston’s attendance rate is the highest in the country and the rate of persistent absences the lowest. This year nearly 700 pupils have attended school every day.
Duncan Clark, Interim Strategic Director for Kingston Council’s Learning and Children’s Services, said: “Improving attendance and reducing persistent absence have been key national indicators for measuring children’s services’ performance. One of Kingston’s priorities is to improve and maintain a very high pupil attendance rate because we know that children and young people benefit from excellent teaching and support in our schools. In the past 10 years, Kingston’s attendance has steadily improved from being at 29th place in the country to being at the very top of the league. I would like to thank school staff, Education Welfare Officers and parents for their support to ensure Kingston pupils attend school and achieve the best.”
In 2004, Kingston Council became the first in the country to award Mayor’s Medals to pupils who have achieved 100% attendance record. From last year, the Council is joined by local John Lewis Department Store to form a public and private partnership to hold this popular event annually. The Award ceremony will also feature a local young sporting talent, Jonathan Smith, who is training to compete at Paralympics 2012.