Attendance at Ilfracombe Academy is slightly less than the 95 per cent national average, at 93, and Ilfracombe Church of England Junior School is at 95.2. Both schools want to make raising attendance to levels of excellence a major focus this year. They say national research has shown that pupils who attend school more will not only chieve their full academic potential but also do better in employment and in life. The schools also want to encourage more students to join in with extra-curricular activities such as music, drama and sports clubs. North Devon's far flung geography means the academy has the second largest catchment area in the country, which poses challenges for students attending after-school clubs, as well as trying to get to school. The academy's deputy headteacher, Steve Rogers, said the school works with individual students and families to provide transport where possible and also to get them in if they miss their morning bus, if feasible. He said: "The focus is for students to have attendance of 95 per cent or above because all the research and Department of Education guidance suggests that you have more chance of achieving your full potential and to maximise your chances in employment and education." Headteacher Sharon Marshall said: "We know that Ilfracombe Academy has made real progress in GCSE achievement over the last few years and this is despite attendance at 93 per cent. "Every external assessment of the school has stated that teaching is very good and that students are well-motivated, well-behaved and engaged with their learning - just think what our students could achieve if attendance was at the national average." Jody Le Bredonchel, headteacher at the junior school, said the school is excited to be working with the academy in promoting good attendance. He said: "We are very proud of our knowledge-based curriculum and Ofsted have recognised the quality of teaching, learning and assessment at our school is good. "We want all pupils to thrive and enjoy their learning. Both schools offer so much and we look forward to sharing exciting updates throughout the year."