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Boards to monitor attendance

Absences condoned by parents are still far too common, the Education Minister told the third national conference on school attendance last week in Edinburgh.

Raymond Robertson said school boards should investigate attendance rates, discuss the difference between authorised and unauthorised absence and consider how the school should respond.

The minister outlined the Government's initiative on attendance and absence, run jointly with the Quality in Education Centre at Strathclyde University, and announced that three teachers have been commissioned to prepare a guide to good practice. The teachers will look at the needs of boards, teachers and parents.

The initiative would be "about getting things done", Mr Robertson said.

Replying to Labour's promise to axe boards, Mr Robertson repeated his assertion that until their creation six years ago parents had little involvement in their child's school. "That has changed and changed for the better. Surveys of school board members and parents show that two-thirds consider that children have benefited from the work of the school board and that introduction of boards has been helpful," he said.

Figures from the former Lothian region show that the new Edinburgh council has 73 per cent of schools with boards, East Lothian 80 per cent, Midlothian 61 per cent and West Lothian 63 per cent.

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