Why axe fund to help truants?

14th October 2005 at 01:00
Ted Wragg ("How to beat the truants", TES, September 30) highlights important issues around the root causes of truancy, all too often left out of the debate .

Nacro reaches out to thousands of young people who do not attend school regularly, have been excluded or are unknown to the education system. We work with schools to help young people re-integrate. For some, education outside school is the only practical option, although funding for alternative curriculum schemes is hard to come by. Yet the DfES's Neighbourhood Support Fund, which underpinned expansion of outreach work with truants, will shortly be wound up after six successful years.

Nacro, with our partners in the Learning Alliance of education charities, has played a small part in this national programme, but we have been able to help nearly 7,000 young people get back into education, or move on to jobs and training - a 65 per cent success rate, on a very modest budget.

While there is no shortage of government initiatives aimed at reducing truancy and exclusion, if voluntary and community organisations are to play their part, perennial problems of short-term planning and stopstart schemes need to be tackled.

Craig Harris

Director of Education and Employment Nacro, the crime reduction charity 169 Clapham Road, London SW9

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