The Benyon revolution

PERSISTENT ABSENCE rates at Benyon Primary school in South Ockendon have hit a staggering 15.6%. The figures released by the Department of Education refer to the period between Autumn 2009 and Spring 2010.

5% is supposed to be the warning figure. May schools in the borough have less than 1%.

How on earth the attendance got to that stage is a question for another time, however, since the arrival of interim head, James Kenyon, a quiet but significant educational revolution has begun to take place in the north of the borough.

So much infact, that students are coming in on a Saturday and attendance rates in some quarters have risen to 90%.

A spokesperson for Thurrock Council said: “As well holding “attendance assemblies”, and rewarding good attendance with certificates and book vouchers, the school has also worked closely with parents to get good attendance to be a top priority.

The school is also working closely with the Shaw Primary in Ockendon, a school which has a long-standing, successful policy for dealing with absences,

In addition, the head just held a “Saturday School” for Year 6 pupils. The last Saturday class attracted 26 out of 30 Year 6 children, demonstrating the commitment of this group to their learning.

For many, Benyon is another example of the key appointments to Headships that have occurred over the last year. Appointments that have seen the number of interim heads drop dramatically.

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