Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Truancy up despite fines for parents

The Telegraph notes the rise in the use of fixed penalty fines to punish parents not able to get their children to school don’t appear to be having the desired effect. They also suggest that more draconian measures aren’t working either:

Record numbers of parents have also been hauled before the courts for failing to curb wayward children, with prosecutions soaring from 986 to 3,713 between 2005 and 2007. But despite the hard line, the number of school days lost because of unauthorised absence over the same period soared by two million to 11.8 million.

The disclosure – in figures obtained by the Lib Dems after a parliamentary question – will raise fresh doubts over the Government’s anti-truancy strategy.

The DCSF are quoted saying that attendance at school is improving, and that truancy figures are worse because heads are not accepting “weak excuses”.

The NUT’s acting General Secretary is quoted on their website saying:

“The Government needs to draw the obvious lessons from the latest truancy figures. There are no magic solutions to tackling core truancy. Schools do their best to deal with persistent truancy but they cannot, on their own, address deep-rooted social problems which lead to truancy.”

Truancy is, of course, a risk factor for children and young people in relation to their drug use.

Smoking Drinking and Drug Use among Young People In England in 2006 found:

  • Pupils who had experience of exclusion from school or playing truant were more likely to smoke regularly;
  • Pupils who had truanted were almost twice as likely to have drunk alcohol in the last seven days; and
  • Truancy and exclusion from school were both strongly linked to recent drug use

UpdateThe Guardian say that the government are suggesting the rise can be traced back to an increased number of days children were sick.


Filed under: Truancy,

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