King's Lynn Academy Mentoring

A report on the club intitiative to provide mentoring at King's Lyn Academy

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Priory Pioneers Mentoring at King’s Lynn Academy
One of the many challenges which schools and academies face is that of meeting strict targets set by The Department for Education and Ofsted concerning student attendance levels. The King’s Lynn Academy, formerly Gaywood Park High School has a history of failing to achieve these targets with the result that academy leaders have implemented a new and innovative approach to achieving dramatic improvements in this critically important area.  This new approach includes, among a number of measures, the ability to impose fines and court appearances on parents who fail to heed repeated warnings that constant unauthorised absence by students will not be tolerated.
As part of KLA’s attendance drive, King’s Lynn Priory Rotary Club embarked on a one on one mentoring scheme, on a test basis, commencing in January this year. Six Priory Rotarians have been holding weekly meetings with three students each, all of whom are, to varying degrees, persistent academy absentees. The result has been an impressively successful one.
Last year no less than 51% of students at KLA failed to achieve the minimum required attendance level of 85%. Following an over hall of The Academy’s approach to this issue which incorporates King’s Lynn Priory’s Mentoring scheme, that incredibly disappointing figure of 51% has been reduced to 17%, a figure which academy leaders are delighted with. The intention is to achieve an even lower figure next year.
Priory Rotarian, Derek Stringer says of the mentoring scheme,” the task of building a trusting relationship with some of the more difficult students has been a very challenging but rewarding experience for us at Priory and to have made a significant contribution to achieving such a dramatic improvement in the attendance levels at the academy, has been the icing on the cake. The secret seems to be to get to the underlying reason behind why a particular student fails to take attendance seriously, once you have that insight you are at least half way to solving the problem. The academy are very keen for us to continue with this scheme starting next term and I am confident that we can continue to add real value to KLA’s efforts in this area. Although the statistics are important, the obvious fact is that if a student is absent, that student is not learning and is therefore less likely to achieve his or her potential and that, at the end of the day is what this scheme is all about, students reaching their full potential.”

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