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Community Links - Case Studies

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Attendance is an issue, never the issue
Persistent Absence is still refusing to budge. Why?

Chiltern Primary School in Hull serves one of the most challenging communities in England;
99% of pupils are in the top quintile for deprivation. This may not bode well for attendance, but year-to-date attendance in this challenging community is higher than the England average, and persistent absence lower than the England average, and that’s been the school’s track record for many years.
People are central to this success. Chiltern’s mantra is ‘attendance is an issue, never the
issue’, which speaks to the fact that her poorest attenders are probably from families that are facing multiple challenges.
And so the school gets involved in establishing tangible, supportive relationships via a weekly school foodbank that regularly has 80 queuing from 8.30am each Thursday morning.
Claire also coordinates wellbeing action plans where pupil, parent and school sit together to
work out what will make a difference in the child’s life - this week there are six such meetings planned. Claire believes that every child with poor attendance has a reason unique to themselves, with the school and family needing to figure out the unique solution for that child.
From all of this work we conclude that great attendance is built on high quality relationships,
based on trust that has been built up over many years. Claire believes that these relationships are relational capital that can be drawn upon when difficult conversations need to happen around attendance.

‘Parent Partnership’ book by Nigel Bishop, in which Chiltern features with case studies throughout.

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Feedback from Mental Health Support Team


The Mental health support teams describe Chiltern school as a lead collaborative partner in Hull. The school’s passion, drive and innovation with regards supporting children, families, the community and their staff with their social, emotional and mental health is an exemplar of best practice.


It is evident that the school is a hub within the community, that not only academically educates children, it nurtures and grows their emotional and mental health, builds confidence and empowers belief to improve their chances.


Chiltern has shared so much with the MHST and supported our development of the offer to benefit not only their setting but also across other schools within the city as part of the MHST.   


Chiltern has shared experiences with the school’s network of their chat and chose programme, their coffee mornings and workshops that are designed to support parents with achieving a healthy lifestyle and improve social, emotional, physical and mental health. By sharing their experiences that have helped to develop other schools’ initiatives.


The school has invited us to be part of their community to learn from them whilst they learn and develop further through our emotional and mental health offer to compliment their already fantastic work.


To sum up Chiltern they are a school at the heart of the community with children and families at the centre of all they do. They nurture young minds to shine bright, be bold and thrive, and ensure that no child or family go unseen or unheard.


Emma Train-Sullivan

Hull Mental Health Support Teams In Schools

Service Lead/Manager

Waitrose article


Look North community garden video clip

Look North Mental Health Support Team

Reach Foundation - Thrive Hub

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