Welsh parents get tough on truancy

21st May 2004 at 01:00
Eight out of 10 parents in Wales are happy with their children's teachers despite concerns over worsening standards of pupil behaviour, a TES survey reveals today.

It also shows the tough line they would take on discipline and attendance with three-quarters saying they would jail parents who allow their children to truant.

However, two in five parents admitted to taking their children on holiday during school terms, and 7 per cent, mainly from poorer backgrounds, did so every year. Four in 10 parents said they would never take their children out of school during term-time.

The findings are revealed in a survey of 300 parents of pupils at primary and secondary schools in Wales conducted for The TES Cymru, which is launched today.

A TES survey in March covering England and Wales showed that only 4 per cent of parents were unhappy with their child's school. The new poll discloses the high level of interest and commitment to education in Wales.

Only 2 per cent admitted never going to parents' evenings, and 82 per cent said they always or almost always attended.

The poll found that more than two in five parents thought that pupil behaviour had deteriorated.

Men and women had equally strong views on truancy, but working-class parents and those from south-east Wales were more likely to support prison sentences.

A mother from Llanelli became the first parent in Wales to be jailed for failing to make sure her 14-year-old son attended school, in 2003.

The Welsh Assembly has rejected England's policy of getting heads to issue pound;100 spot fines for truancy and is piloting different ways of reducing pupil disaffection, including the use of learning mentors.

A slight majority, 54 per cent, believed parents of children who make malicious allegations against teachers should be sued.

Support was strongest among fathers, 62 per cent, and parents of secondary-age pupils, 63 per cent. But parents of primary-age pupils were less supportive - 44 per cent.

* Welsh parents are being let down by their politicians' decisions to end the publication of test results, David Bell, chief inspector of schools, said this week.

Speaking at a Social Market Foundation think-tank he also said that schools should be given greater flexibility to fix teachers' pay according to their performance.

"If we want to motivate teachers who out-perform their peers, what is wrong with that," he asked.


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