Teenage truants – is your child attending school regularly?
About seven per cent of pupils account for a third of all absence in secondary schools.
Between 2004 and 2007 over 30,000 penalty notices were issued to parents because of their child’s high level of unauthorised absence and over 19,000 parenting contracts were agreed to improve attendance.
Minister for Young People Kevin Brennan commented: “We will encourage schools and councils to provide whatever positive support they can. But parents who fail in their duty to get their kids to school every day should expect tough sanctions.”
Parents are responsible for ensuring that their compulsory school-age children are receiving a full-time education and that the child’s attendance is regular.
As parents, we have a key role to play in ensuring children attend school, are on time and don’t go on unauthorised term-time holidays. Nor should we allow a child to be off “sick”, if they aren’t actually ill.
There are many reasons why a child may be truanting. A lot of teens complain about school being boring but in reality they truant for a variety of reasons:
These are all concerns that should be addressed with the school as soon as possible. With the aid of teachers you can work out a strategy to help your son or daughter.
An increasing number of schools have a policy of phoning home on the first day of absence. If the school doesn’t, you have a right to insist that your child’s form teacher contact you immediately if there is an absence. The sooner you know about a problem the sooner it can be resolved.
Many teens are unaware of the law and a gentle reminder now and again can have positive effects – especially as police now have powers to return truants to school – how embarrassing!
Apart from the education a truant is missing, they are also vulnerable to crime or may become law-breakers themselves. Prevention is obviously better than cure and it has been shown that parents who show an active interest in their child’s education are less likely to have children who truant.