One in 10 pupils at more than 1,600 schools play truant so often they miss a month’s lessons every year, latest figures have revealed. This is from the Daily Mail…
There are 677 primary schools and 977 secondary schools where more than 10 per cent of students miss more than one in six days.
One MP said the figures were ‘deeply worrying’ and urged parents to take more responsibility for making children their children got the education that they need.
Published figures for the last full school year show the scale of ‘persistent absentees’ in England’s schools.
A total of 76 schools – 50 secondary and 26 primary – have more than 20 per cent of pupils classes as ‘persistent absentees’ for missing more than 15 per cent of lessons.
Under rules introduced last September, headteachers can now impose a £60 spot fine on parents who condone truancy, up from £50 under the Labour government.
But ministers have been urged to go further and consider docking child benefit from parents who refuse to pay fines.
Tory MP Andrew Griffths, who uncovered the figures in parliament, said: ‘It is deeply worrying to uncover that so many pupils are missing vital days of schooling.
‘Of course the teachers and schools have a role to play in tackling absences but it is also the responsibility of parents to make sure that their children attend school to get the education that they require.’
Education Secretary Michael Gove has warned of an ‘educational underclass’ of children who will never spend enough time in school to achieve academic success.
Challenged over the coalition’s record on attendance recently, education minister Elizabeth Truss said: ‘The Government agreed Charlie Taylor’s recommendation to tackle truancy by improving pupils’ overall attendance, and by focusing in primary schools to tackle poor attendance early.
‘And we have uprated the penalty fines for parents who shirk their responsibility to ensure their children attend school.’
The Department for Education insisted that overall levels of persistent absenteeism had fallen from 8.6 per cent in 2006-07 to 6.1 per cent in 2010-11.