A Parentline Plus report has urged the government to tackle the
underlying reasons behind truancy following an in-depth study of
calls to its 24-hour free helpline, writes Clare
The majority of parents do not collude with their
children’s behaviour, and are desperate for help to address
the underlying causes of their child’s truancy, the research
suggests. It also claims that truancy is often linked to other
difficulties such as low educational achievement, substance misuse
Meanwhile, research by principal education welfare officer of
Kingston local education authority, Ming Zhang, suggests
prosecuting parents for their child’s truancy fails to get
the children back to school.
He found there was no link between the number of court cases
against parents and the improvement or reduction in school
attendance rates between 1999 and 2002 having examined the
statistics from 43 LEAs.
The findings show that while secondary school pupils seem to
have some positive, although statistically insignificant, response
to parental prosecution in terms of improvement of attendance,
there is no such response from primary school children.
Zhang suggests that older pupils should be prosecuted for
The truancy rate has increased by 15 per cent since Labour came
to power despite the launch of £650 million worth of
initiatives designed to combat the problem.
Government figures detailed in a written parliamentary answer
show that 566,000 secondary school pupils played truant at least
once last year, compared with 423,000 in 1996-97.