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News - 15 July 2008

Cutting truancy by SMS

Newnham Middle School in Bedford is tackling unauthorised absence by installing a mobile-phone-based automatic parent notification system.

Truancy Call allows school staff to implement first day contact with parents of absentees via email, SMS text and voice calling to obtain a direct response from the parent without the need to invest in new telephone systems, additional phone lines or a new computer. The system is also helping to safeguard pupil welfare in the area as both parents and the school are aware as soon as a child is missing.

On a typical school day there are 50,000 children who are not in school - many without authority or leave, so the government has set a target to reduce the 2002/03 level of school absence by 8% by 2007/08. By installing Truancy Call, Newnham Middle School, with 600 pupils, is taking positive steps to achieve this goal.

Once registration has been completed, the Truancy Call system automatically calls/texts or emails parents until a response is received. When a response is received any further calls that day are stopped automatically. Jenni Gayter, Acting Headteacher at Newnham Middle School, said: “Installing Truancy Call has made a real difference to our unauthorised absence levels. We have had a very pleasing reaction from the parents as the system reminds them that they must inform the school straight away if their child is absent. The system has also cut the amount of time we spend contacting the parents. Previously we had to call all the parents individually but now we press a button and Truancy Call does the job for us.”

For more on Truancy Call click here

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