Written by ROB SMYTH
BURTON’S MP has applauded the efforts of schools in East Staffordshire following a drop in truancy levels and backed a series of tough measures introduced to try and curb the problem.
Andrew Griffiths spoke out after it was revealed that the number of pupils persistently skipping school in the area had fallen by a third, or 33.6 per cent, since 2010.
He said that a range of government measures have helped reduce the figures, which have included increasing fines for truancy from £50 to £60, and from £100 to £120 if not paid within 28 days.
Mr Griffiths said: “Congratulations to everyone involved in schools and those working with troubled families for these encouraging new figures.
“The evidence shows that persistent absence from school has a serious detrimental effect on pupils’ performance and so it is great news that, thanks to this Government’s actions, truancy has dramatically reduced in Burton.
“This Government is reintroducing rigour into our schools, ensuring high standards of discipline are maintained, and our English Baccalaureate means that more young people are studying for the key academic subjects that will help them get a job.”
In 2009-10 6,487 pupils were persistently absence from school, but this has fallen to 4,308 in 2012-13.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “There is no excuse for skipping school. We have taken action to reduce absence by increasing fines and encouraging schools to address the problem earlier.
“These figures show we are making progress, with 130,000 fewer pupils regularly missing school under this government. Alongside our measures to give teachers powers to search pupils and impose same-day detentions, this demonstrates our determination to get tough on bad behaviour.”
Persistent absence is down by almost a third, with 300,895 were persistently absent in 2012-13, down from 433,130 in 2009-10.
This meant that 130,000 fewer pupils were missing 15 per cent of school – equivalent to missing 18 months of a whole school career A total of 7.7 million fewer school days were lost to overall absence – 49.3 million days in 2012-13 compared to 57 million days in 2009-10.