Errant parents need support, not fines

10th March 2000 at 00:00
YOUR report "Truancy busters fight with parents" (TES, February 25) illustrated the struggle schools face with parents who don't share the Government's commitment to education.

Some of the evidence presented in the Government paper Tackling Truancy highlights the success in raising attendance levels when parents have been involved in the educational process.

One of the paper's recommendations is to divert funds to some secondary schools, so they can finance their own attendance initiatives.

I wonder how many schools will invest in parental education or stick with the traditional door knocking approach?

The Government appears to be keener on challenging families with fines they cannot afford. Perhaps a little more imagination and education are really required here.

Nevertheless, I somehow doubt the commitmen of appropriate resources will be made to support these families.

I am left wondering how many children have embarked on a life of crime, not because they have played truant, but because they were not best served by the educational system? They were excluded and denied special provision, due to lack of resources or worse, poor management.

It would be interesting to know the number of pupils let down by the system in such a way. I worry that such a number may be as high as that of errant parents.

Talk of inclusivity and full attendance is super but when the appropriate support - special educational needs, social workers, educational welfare and the like - aren't there, or are too thin on the ground to count, then I am sure it is not all about poor parenting.

Paul Mormoris



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