It's one of the big issues facing some schools: how do you make sure that all of them attend school? And punctually? It's not just a matter of making sure they're safe either: Ofsted requires every school to produce an attendance record.
There are several ways to keep children safe, both online and offline. Perhaps the first thing to recognise is that the two things are related. In an article entitled “Adolescents’ experience of offline and online risks: separate and joint propensities”, Anke Görzig states:
Teacher workload is currently firmly in the spotlight with recent surveys revealing just how strained teachers in the UK are on a daily basis. Time and workload pressures mean that on average, teachers are reported to work over 50 hours per week which is way above the UK average of 37.5 hours. This is causing teachers to have a poor work-life balance as well as increasing concerns for their mental and physical health.
Inertia. It’s the enemy of innovation. “We’ve always done it this way”, people say. Or, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The relationship between parents and teachers is very important, and involves much more than turning up to a parents' evening once or twice a year. Sandy Christenson, of the University of Minnesota, reported studies which found that children from birth to age 18 spend 90% of their time outside of school and that once children start kindergarten they spend 70% of waking hours outside of school time. She concludes that how students use their time and what learning opportunities and supports they receive outside of school highly influence their reading progress and performance in school.
Many schools regard pupils’ use of social media with suspicion. However, social media, in the form of Twitter, Youtube and blogs especially, can be an excellent means of getting your message out, both to the world, and even to parents. For example, King Edward VI school in Bury-St-Edmund’s uses Twitter to get information out to parents. It publishes several updates a day.
Over 50,000 teachers left the profession before retirement last year, the highest number for more than a decade. In 2016, the NUT called for teacher shortages to be made a priority over ‘politically motivated’ projects such as academies and free schools.
It was soul destroying, trudging around schools up and down the country in the early days showing bursars and office staff my new idea. All were very polite but most simply laughed, saying online payments would never take off in schools.
As in any organisation, the biggest single expenditure for schools is on staffing costs. Not only teaching staff, but non-teaching staff as well. Technology can help, although we are not suggesting that the school office staff be replaced by robots.