Give them what they want

1st October 2004 at 01:00
The fact that truancy is now at a record level is surely an indictment of the way we school our young people. The fact is that school is so unpalatable for pupils that many take the ultimate option - they opt out.

Many more opt out while still going through the motions of attending school.

As a former teacher I have every sympathy with them, for I wouldn't like to be dragooned into spending most of every day studying what I didn't want to know. If you offer pupils interest they will flock back to school.

Unfortunately, much of what they are asked to study does not match their learning ambitions, yet they are forced to do it, and that's where disenchantment begins.

The answer - genuine choice for each pupil, at least in later years, at the very root of the educating process. Then the reason for truancy will disappear because pupils will be pursuing knowledge they wish to make theirs.

I look forward to a government brave enough to allow young people to learn rather than compelling them.

AJ Marsden

9 Chester Drive Ramsbottom Bury, Lancashire

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