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News

Parental SMS linked to school register deters truants.

Avanquest Software : 04 March, 2008  (Application Story)
Truancy at Essex school reduced to negligible levels following installation of text messaging server by Avanquest linked to the school register to inform parents of absent children.
Castle View School, a comprehensive school, situated on Canvey Island, Essex has successfully reduced its truancy rates to 0.5% - this includes parent approved truancy - the total opposite of the recently published governing figures for 2006-7, which, it is stated, show that truancy rates in England are worse than ever.

Castle View has successfully reduced its truancy statistics from 2% ten years ago using a combination of strategies - the presence of a dedicated Attendance Officer working within the school, computerised lesson resignation and a text messaging solution linked to its electronic 'registers'. Non attendance notification can be automatically communicated to parents and this has proved to be a good 'deterrent' to errant pupils.

The text solution chosen by Castle View School is Text Message Server, supplied by Avanquest Solutions. The software was easy to install and integrates with Castle View's Schools Information System (SIMS). Contact information for parents, including a designated priority mobile phone number is held within SIMS.

Staff registers pupils' attendance at each lesson, with the first period acting as the statutory morning registration. By running a report, the Attendance Office can monitor general attendance at school and also any trends affecting a particular lesson or subject.

Parents are immediately notified by text if their child fails to turn up for registration, with a request to contact the school to provide a reason for absence. The text messages are created and sent from the desktop through Text Message Server and delivered directly to the mobile phone.

"We shall always have a degree of absence because of illness and unauthorised absence (eg we do not generally authorise holiday absence)" said Russell Sullivan, Headteacher at Castle View School. "However we are confident that general truancy is identified and dealt with; we are delighted with the reduction in 'real' truancy - in a school of 900 pupils 0.5% represents a significant reduction, but a manageable number on which to focus. We all feel that the texting service has had a positive impact".
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