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Portsmouth Football Club player, Ryan Williams, will join pupils from across the city at Portsmouth City Council's first school attendance celebration event at Highbury College on 12 March. The event is part of the club's partnership with the council to back their ‘Miss School, Miss Out’ attendance campaign.

Young people from primary and secondary schools were put forward for the event by their schools in order to recognise excellent or significantly improved school attendance and punctuality. They will be able to take part in a question and answer session to find out more about Ryan's career, the influence school and learning has had on him and his plans for the future. The club has provided match tickets and signed T shirts as prizes for the event and the young people will be able to collect autographs and have their photos taken with the winger who re-joined Portsmouth in July 2019 after a 7 year break.

The council's ongoing 'Miss School, Miss Out' campaign asks young people 'What Could You Become?' and is aimed at increasing attendance levels in Portsmouth schools, by demonstrating the link between aspirations, hard work and regular attendance in school.

Cllr Suzy Horton, cabinet member for education at Portsmouth City Council, said: "We are thrilled about this partnership with Pompey to bring this important message to families and I am really looking forward to our celebration event. Attending school helps children and young people reach their goals in life, whatever they aspire to be - whether they want to be football players or follow a career outside of sport. It's not just about what they learn in lessons that counts but also the teamwork, dedication and resilience they learn through school clubs, friendships and hard work, which will benefit them in later life."

Lorraine Reeves, Attendance Manager at Langstone Junior Academy said: "We recognise how poor attendance and punctuality can affect a child's learning and well-being. Our children are aware that we are here to support, guide and nurture them into wanting to come to school and be the best that they be and we believe that by working alongside parents and children, we can maximise our children’s full learning potential at school. Each of our pupils that have been nominated for the celebration event have had individual struggles that we have addressed, ensuring that the positivity of coming to school continues throughout their time with us. We are super proud of each and every one of our nominees and their new confident and upbeat approach to school life. We want to show them that not only their school, but also Portsmouth City Council are fully aware of how amazing they truly are."

Portsmouth Football Club chief commercial officer Anna Mitchell said: “We are delighted to partner with Portsmouth City Council to support their school attendance campaign. We hope it will resonate with our young fans and encourage them to attend school regularly."

Pompey player Ryan WIlliams added: "I really enjoyed going to school, seeing my friends and taking part in all the different lessons. My favourite memory is playing football with my friends. My advice for any young Pompey fan out there would be - work hard and you will be able to achieve anything you set your mind to!”

You can find out more about the Miss School, Miss Out campaign online at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/attendance