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Better recording of teacher absence called for in Wales

10/01/2017 Joanna

 Primary schools in Wales are being urged to follow government guidance regarding the effective management of teacher absence.

A new report from education watchdog Estyn has pinpointed several areas where schools could improve how they handle teacher absence.

The report revealed a high level of awareness relating to government guidance in this area, but also the fact that few schools are putting this into practice.

Estyn's chief inspector Meilyr Rowlands stated that while all schools monitor absence due to illness, many are failing to monitor absence due to other factors, such as training, conferences or other school duties.

He concluded that this has led to a breakdown in the proper recording of how often pupils are being taught by supply teachers.

"Primary schools need to make sure that they evaluate the impact of teacher absence," commented Mr Rowlands. "Monitoring and tracking the reasons for teacher absence can help to raise awareness of the potential impact of absence on learners."

Responding to the report, Gareth Evans, director of education policy at the University of Wales Trinity St David, added that consistency in learning is essential to delivering the best levels of education for young children.

He argued: "There is an inconsistency in learning - supply teachers don't know the pupils and the youngsters' individual needs.

"Another important factor is behaviour - pupils are less likely to respect and value the teacher in front of them if they know they're not going to be there more than a day or so."

The body has therefore issued a series of recommendations aimed at improving record-keeping for schools across Wales. This includes ensuring all schools are following government-set guidelines on monitoring teacher absence and its impact in the classroom.

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