The Great Truancy Divide and How to Reduce Absenteeism in Your School
Figures released recently revealed that truancy is more prevalent in areas of Northern England than in the South, with children from some deprived northern cities missing up to 3 days of school each without permission last year. Whilst illness accounts for the majority of authorised and unauthorised absences, lateness and religious holidays were also cited as reasons for pupils not turning up to class.
The top ten worst areas for truancy were identified as:
1 Knowsley – 3.8
2 Stoke-on-Trent – 3.7
2 Middlesbrough – 3.7
4 Blackpool – 3.5
5 Rotherham – 3.4
6 Bradford – 3.0
6 Barnsley – 3.0
6 Doncaster – 3.0
6 Sheffield – 3.0
10 Southampton – 2.9
10 Rochdale – 2.9
Impact of Truancy
With the average child in England missing almost 2 days of schooling per year without permission from their school, truancy is an issue that affects everyone involved in the education process, however its impact is most notable on the three key parties:
- The child – whose education may suffer as a result of missed days.
- The parent – who may risk fines of up to £2,500 and the docking of their child benefit for persistently allowing their child to play truant.
- The school – who have to spend time chasing parents for reasons of absence as well as dealing with the potential disruption to teachers and classes of pupil absenteeism, particularly when group work is involved.
Truancy and the Law
The law in the UK states that children must receive a satisfactory level of education from the school term after their 5th birthday until the last Friday in June in the school year they turn 16. Whether the child is sent to school or educated at home, this education should be enforced by parents.
Reducing Absenteeism in Schools
Getting a child to go to school voluntarily can sometimes be tricky, particularly if there are issues at home or the child is experiencing bullying at school. Parents can seek support from the school and local council, who can work with families to agree a plan to improve attendance. This may include drawing up a parenting contract, which is essentially a voluntary written agreement between the parent and school or local council outlining this plan. This contract can also be used as evidence should a local council decide to prosecute parents.
From the school’s perspective one of the easiest ways to reduce absenteeism is to stay on top of it. Keeping track of which children are absent and when parents have been contacted can help to reduce the amount of time and money the school needs to invest in dealing with truancy.
Truancy Call is an absent and late messaging system which has been proven to reduce unauthorised absences in schools. With the facility to automate phone calls, text messages and emails and repeat calls until a response is provided, valuable staff time can be saved. For parents who are difficult to reach, Truancy Call features the added benefit that there is no charge to respond to calls – which means even parents who are out of mobile phone credit can let the school know the reason for their child’s absence.
Why not request a demo of Truancy Call today and see for yourself how easy it is to save time and money?