tackle truancy launching a new poster campaign and kicking off the
next set of truancy sweeps.
streets around the country during the Christmas period, will combine
with national truancy sweeps to send a clear message to parents that
they have a vital part to play in ensuring young people attend
Findings from earlier truancy sweeps have shown that around half of
schoolchildren stopped were with a parent. This campaign marks the
next strand in the government's strategy that has already seen
tougher penalties for parents including fines of up to£2,500 and
Education minister Ivan Lewis also announced the eight areas around
the country that will pilot a new fast track through to prosecution
process for parents of persistent truants from January.
Mr Lewis said:
'Truancy has remained a scourge of our education system for too long.
What starts as 'bunking off' the occasional lesson can spiral to
missing out on vital stages in a child's education. This feeds into a
cycle of underachievement and disaffection which can lead to crime
and drug and alcohol misuse.
'As a government we are determined to tackle this but if we are going
to make a real difference it is absolutely vital that parents also
shoulder their share of responsibility. It is unacceptable that over
half the young people stopped on truancy sweeps are with a parent. We
have to work together to ensure that our children receive the
education they deserve. Quite simply, children who truant are missing
out on school, damaging their prospects and exam results - and
causing problems in shops and precincts.'
The poster will be available throughout shopping centres, high
streets, GPs' surgeries and libraries around the country and will
coincide with a national round of truancy sweeps throughout December.
Information leaflets will also be available outlining parental
Today's launch was made as Home Office minister John Denham announced
that new measures to help police and courts crack-down on anti-social
behaviour and nuisance crime came into force (see LGCnet).
This Press Notice applies to England.
1. The Department for Education and Skills has produced posters
highlighting truancy and these are available for retailers, and
doctors' surgeries free of charge. Please telephone 0845 60 2220 60
requesting A4 or A3 size, quote PPY181 and for A3 PPY181
2. The 8 areas piloting the fast-track through to prosecution process
North East Lincolnshire
In addition another 13 LEAs will be involved in the roll-out later in
3. As part of the street crime initiative, police forces and
education welfare services in the 10 areas identified as having the
highest rates of street crime, conducted an intensive series of
truancy sweeps during May 2002. Key findings were:
- 12,000 children have been stopped by over 900 truancy patrols in
the period 29th April - 30th May 2002.
- 32% of these children were of primary age and 68% of secondary
- 18% of children stopped were asked to return with the Education
Welfare Officers either to their school or another central
location. Details were taken from all children stopped by the
truancy patrols and appropriate follow-up work was carried out with
their school and family by Education Welfare Officers. Additional
support was also provided by Connexions Personal Advisers and
Learning Mentors in Excellence in Cities areas to those young
people that were identified as having attendance problems to make
sure that any issues were resolved. Almost all of these children
were of secondary school age.
- About half of the children stopped were with their parents (83% of
primary school age children stopped were with their parents and 26%
of secondary school age children), and were judged to have no good
reason for being out of school
4. The department has introduced over 2,500 learning mentors within
Excellence in Cities areas who provide individual help and support
for children who face barriers to learning, and the new Connexions
Service Partnerships also give priority to improving school
attendance for all young people aged 13 and over.