Council clamps down on school truancy rates

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English student writing during an exam. Pic © Alison Wood Wikimedia Commons

A scheme to crack down on truancy in Liverpool has been launched.

Recent figures revealed that both local primary and secondary schools are below the national average for attendance. In Liverpool, 11.33 per cent of pupils in primary schools are persistently absent compared with 8.8 per cent nationally, while at secondary school level it is 17.15 per cent compared with 12.3 per cent across the rest of the country.

As a result, teams made up of specialist council officers and Merseyside Police will be re-introduced to find students who are skipping school. Officers will also tackle parents who are keeping students away from school without a valid reason.

These patrols were first introduced in 2002 by Liverpool City Council’s education service, but were stopped in 2014 due to budget cuts.

The council’s executive member for education, Paul Clein, said: “Attendance levels are improving in Liverpool, against the national trend, but we still have too many youngsters absent from school without permission.”

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Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: “A considerable amount of excellent work to support children’s attendance at school has been done in Liverpool, but as a city we are still lagging behind other core cities and the national average.

“As a parent and grandparent, I want to see every part of our education system working well for the children, and as mayor of Liverpool I want to make sure they are ready to face the best possible life chances in a city that is full of opportunities.

“We need to build on existing good practice and introduce new measures to help tackle the issues facing Liverpool in relation to unacceptably high absence rates.”