Truants stretch welfare system, says union

20th October 1995 at 01:00
With one in 10 pupils truanting and more than 80,000 children a day not in school the education welfare system is stretched to breaking point, according to Unison, the union representing council workers.

The union says that local government cuts mean a typical educational welfare officer handles a caseload of 300 children. Some 2,500 such officers are needed to solve the crisis, which is leading to an increase in juvenile crime.

"On an average day, 80,000 children and young people are out of school, often roaming the streets, exposed to juvenile crime, drug abuse and illegal child employment," said John Findlay, Unison's national officer for social services.

"Without a huge increase in resources, the problem will go unchecked. We need trained and experienced staff to work with the children concerned, their families and their schools to identify and deal with the underlying reasons for truancy.

"There is a crying need for further detailed research if we are not to store up social problems for the future."

He claimed Government figures grossly underestimate the true level of truancy. This is because schools are under pressure to play down the number of pupils who play truant, and the present method for recording absences is open to abuse by staff and pupils.

The recorded figures show an average of 16 half-days lost each year by each truant, with more than 130,000 children truanting. But children may be present for registration, only to play truant later.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now