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Truancy sweep


News | Community

Peterborough City Council officers and police will be carrying out a truancy sweep in Peterborough next week (Monday 9 October to Friday 13 October).

School age children will be stopped and asked to explain why they are not in school throughout the week as part of a campaign to improve attendance and reduce truancy in Peterborough schools.

Are they in school?


Following Government guidance and consultation with schools, Peterborough City Council has reviewed and re-organised its service which works with pupils, families and schools to improve school attendance.

The service which was formerly known as the Education Welfare Service is now called the Attendance Service.

Officers spoke to 78 children in the last truancy sweep and almost half of them – 36 – were with their parents at the time.

They gave a variety of reasons for being away from school including birthdays, medical and other appointments, visiting relatives, and feeling unwell. A number of the young people were simply out on shopping trips.

Peterborough City Council’s special projects and attendance welfare manager Jenny Parris said: “Parents have a responsibility in law to ensure children attend school.

“Children need to attend school to maximise the benefits of the educational opportunities available to them and those who do not attend are vulnerable to becoming victims of crime or could be drawn into anti-social behaviour.

“If parents do not fulfil their legal responsibilities they are liable to prosecution in the magistrates’ court, or could face penalty notice fines of a minimum of £50 - which must be paid all in one sum.

“Penalty notices may also be issued when parents take children on holidays in term time without the agreement of the headteacher.”

Peterborough City Council’s assistant director for learning and standards Mel Collins added: “We are aware that most parents and carers of children and young people in the city are working hard to ensure their children attend school regularly. We are very pleased with the work they and school staff do together to promote good attendance.

“However, there are a group of pupils in our schools who continue to have poor attendance despite everyone’s efforts and we need to work with these children and young people, their parents and carers and schools to improve their attendance and help them get the best out of their education.

“These children and young people only have one chance at school and it is vital that they attend in order to learn and develop skills for life.”

October 2006

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