Course helps boost school attendance

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Children who skip school are being sent on courses to improve their attendance following a successful pilot scheme in Pontefract.

Children in years four to six will take part in a 30-week programme which includes construction, mechanics, bricklaying and hair and beauty.

The Children Have Options Imagination Challenge and Experience (CHOICE) scheme aims to show children that attending school leads to career opportunities.

The youngsters become “college cadets” and have regular support until they move into secondary school.

Olivia Rowley, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “This programme gives young people a practical insight into the various career opportunities available to them. It also helps students to improve their overall attendance rates with valuable information sessions and talks.

“We are supporting schools to encourage parents to ensure their children attend school regularly.”

Wakefield College runs career taster sessions as part of the programme, which also includes a six-week firefighting course held by Castleford Fire Station to boost youngsters’ team building skills. Pupils collect points for completing sections of the course and get prizes including graduation hats and gowns.

The scheme is delivered by Pontefract Education and Academies Trust, Wakefield and District Housing, Wakefield College, West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Fire services, health professionals, British Transport Police and Wakefield Youth Offending Team.

Wakefield Council said a pilot scheme at Carleton High School in 2011 had improved attendance, attainment and behaviour.