Tackling truancy

8th June 2007 at 01:00
As a professional working in schools, I agree with almost everything in your article on truancy (TES magazine, May 25).

Truancy, and particularly condoned absence, greatly affects pupil progress in all areas of the curriculum. There is a high correlation between the pupils who have increased absence due to continual minor ailments and underachievement at GCSE. These pupils are more likely to be disengaged in class as they are continually losing contact with classwork, so they are then more likely to take time off to avoid school.

This is weak parenting rather than a child-centred problem. Given the choice, many children would prefer to stay at home, and if complaining of a headache is all it takes to get a day off, they will try it.

Schools need to be more proactive in tackling these cases directly, rather than prosecuting the parents, who have often genuinely lost control of their child and who in many cases are already being driven to distraction by their behaviour.

Clifford Lennon. Surrey

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