SKIVING is a thing of the past for pupils of Poole’s Magna Academy.

Truants who fancy a day off will get a rude awakening when the school’s new Attendance Bus pulls up outside their homes.

The initiative is the brainchild of new senior vice principal Jonathan Heap who is determined to ensure attendance is as high as possible at the Canford Heath Academy.

He’s starting with Year 11 as the countdown to GCSEs begins but plans to eventually use the converted school minibus across all year groups.

Members of Magna Academy staff, possibly accompanied by an educational welfare officer and a local police community support officer, will visit the homes of students causing attendance concerns.

The aim is to make sure they do not take unnecessary days off and therefore improve their performance in the classroom.

Any student with an attendance level of less than 85 per cent is classified as a persistent absentee.

Mr Heap, who ran a similar operation in his previous job, said: “Sometimes it is difficult for parents to make sure their children go to school so this offers them a helping hand.

“We do not have an issue with attendance across the whole academy but we want to do everything we can to make sure that every student is encouraged to attend regularly” he said.

“We have high aspirations for all of our students and we have a duty to try all we can to ensure students are not missing their education.”

Educational research shows that students who take 15 days or more off school each year have just a four in 10 chance of gaining five or more good GCSEs. Of those who are off for less than seven days, 87 per cent get five good passes.