Saturday, 9 January 2010

The School of Statistics

It probably hasn’t escaped your notice but it’s been a bit wintry of late.

As we know the UK is a bit rubbish when it snows.  We run out of grit.  The grit we do have isn’t applied at the right time or in the right place.  As soon as there is the slightest hint of the white stuff on the ground then so many people decide they simply can’t venture out of their house and driving to work is simply out of the question.  And I’m as guilty as the next person.

On Wednesday there was snow on the ground in the morning and it snowed during the day.

I’d planned to work from home because I had an inkling that schools might close early.  Sure enough a text came through mid morning advising that children could be picked up at 1:15pm.  At the time I didn’t understand what was so special about 1:15pm but I was glad I’d stayed at home so that I could be around to collect my children.

Later that evening we were advised that the school would be closed on Thursday.

On Friday morning we were told the school would be open for the day, but would close early at 2:00pm.

So what is special about 1:15pm? 

That’s when the afternoon register is taken.  So on Wednesday, despite the fact that most children were collected at 1:15pm, all children will have been marked as present, even though they were in fact absent for 99% of the afternoon.

The same is true for Friday afternoon except that children will have been absent for about 60% of the afternoon.

Am I too cynical, or was the school behaving unethically to ensure their attendance statistics were the best they could be?

2 comments:

karen said...

That's exactly what they were doing. The reason the schools are shutting at all is all to do with absence statistics.

Ann said...

I don't think they were closing because of absence stats. I think the snow was probably the reason.
But...I think the way in which they chose to close, when they did close, was driven by our stats and performance obsessed culture.