New crackdown on the stay away kids

GLASGOW is to take a series of further steps to beef up school attendance.

These will involve improvements to the education liaison officer service, formerly the attendance officer system. Closer working with Strathclyde Police will be part of the process.

The city says that this will go hand in hand with more training for liaison officers and efforts to make schooling a more attractive experience for pupils.

The introduction of differentiated curricular materials, peer education and pupil mentoring have already made a major contribution to improving children's motivation and self-esteem.

Schools will be encouraged to "ensure a more relevant and individually based curriculum, especially targeted at vulnerable groups such as adolescent boys".

They are already allowed to opt into an alternative curriculum, which introduces job-oriented studies by cutting one of the eight Standard grade subjects previously required.

The council plans to give attendance a high profile next session, noting its "continuing concern about the number of children removed from school for holidays during the term time, with the consequential disruption to the children's learning progress and with depressing effect on schools'

attendance figures".

Liaison officers will be deployed slightly differently, with some taking on a 5-14 remit which will require them to keep an eye on the transition points into primary and secondary. An "early intervention" strategy will try to tackle lateness which may be a symptom of more significant problems.

The officers will assess levels of risk facing pupils with a system of green, amber and red. The last category would indicate a known family history of violence or drug-related activity.

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