Truancy: The message is clear
TRUANCY in Comet country has seen an overall drop despite a record rise at national level and one school is leading the way in further combating the problem. Thomas Alleyne School in Stevenage is currently using a system called Truancy Call which automati
TRUANCY in Comet country has seen an overall drop despite a record rise at national level and one school is leading the way in further combating the problem.
Thomas Alleyne School in Stevenage is currently using a system called Truancy Call which automatically calls or texts a parent's mobile phone informing them of their child's absence from school that day and giving the parent the option of being directly connected to the school if they are unaware of their child's absence.
Deputy headteacher Avril Starling said: "Parents are very supportive of it because it alerts them when their child is not in school.
"The safety of our students is paramount and it has a great impact on safety as well as reducing truancy in our school.
"What we are always trying to do is to educate people and we can't do that if they are not in school.
"If children do not attend they are not going to learn."
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Provisional figures indicate that while truancy in North Hertfordshire's primary schools has seen an increase from 0.28 per cent in 2004/5 to 0.29 per cent in 2005/6, truancy in secondary schools has dropped in the same period from 0.86 per cent to 0.71 per cent.
A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council said: "Although unauthorised absence in Hertfordshire schools is considerably lower than the national average of 0.79, we are not complacent and always committed to improving attendance in county schools."
Bedfordshire County Council was unable to provide figures solely for Mid Beds but provisional statistics for the county show unauthorised absences in secondary schools decreasing from 0.68 per cent in 2004/5 to 0.50 per cent in 2005/6 and an increase in primary schools from 0.22 per cent to 0.25 per cent.
Beds Cabinet member for education, Rita Drinkwater, said: "We are very pleased to report that the level of truancy in Bedfordshire has fallen.
"At secondary level we have the second lowest level of truancy of any authority in the country and seventh lowest level of truancy overall.
"This is thanks to the hard work put in by our welfare service and our schools to improve pupil attendance.