Hollywood star returns to Knowsley to boost school attendance

Published on: Thursday, 04-February-2016

Hollywood star, Stephen Graham, returned to his Kirkby roots today and toured a number of Knowsley schools to reward those who have successfully completed the school attendance 30 day challenge.

The actor took time out of his busy schedule to show his support to Knowsley Council’s Olympic medal themed school attendance campaign.  The campaign commenced in September 2015 and so far, over 1,500 pupils have received a bronze medal for achieving 100% school attendance during the autumn term.  If they complete 100% during the spring term, they will receive a silver medal and a gold medal upon completion of 100% attendance for the full academic year.

To complement the year-long campaign, a shorter 30 day challenge was introduced around the Christmas period – which traditionally sees a dip in attendance.  Pupils were encouraged to give 100% attendance throughout December and January and there was a 19% increase in pupils achieving 100% attendance compared to the previous year. 

Stephen, who was brought up and educated in Kirkby, visited a number of schools to recognise their attendance achievements:

  • Lord Derby Academy received the ‘most improved / best performing secondary school’ award
  • St Anne’s Catholic Primary School received the ‘best performing primary school’ award
  • Bluebell Park Special School received a ‘special award’

Since the academic school year commenced in September 2016, the council’s school attendance team has been working with teachers, pupils and their parents / carers to reiterate the importance of school attendance and that requests for absences such as going on holiday or for birthdays would not be approved.  This message clearly now seems to be getting through as more pupils are achieving 100% school attendance.

Stephen told pupils at Lord Derby Academy: “I’m very honoured to be here to congratulate you on your achievements.Stephen Graham reads to pupils at St Anne's Catholic Primary School

“Knowledge gives you the power to be whoever you want to be in life, and the key thing to this is attendance. If you’re not in school you won’t learn. Whatever you dream you want to do in life, anything is possible if you put the work in.”

Cllr Gary See, Cabinet Member for Children & Family Services, added “Improving school attendance is a priority for the council as we know the benefits that excellent school attendance brings – it gives our children and young people the best opportunities to achieve, reach their potential and go on in later life to have successful careers.”

Watch a video of Stephen Graham visiting Lord Derby Academy in Huyton.