HC Deb 18 May 1982 vol 24 c177
5. Mr. Haselhurst

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what evidence his Department has as to the principal causes of truancy.

Sir Keith Joseph

Research evidence points to factors such as the temperament of the truanting children, the attitude of their parents and family, and social background. I believe that the suitability of curricula and the effectiveness of teaching also contribute.

Mr. Haselhurst

Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is a considerable degree of consumer rejection and that we should consider widening the possibilities for pupils over the age of 14 to undertake courses and development not necessarily confined to the classroom?

Sir Keith Joseph

I am sure that there is something in what my hon. Friend says, although I am not so sure that he is right to emphasise the degree to which work occurs outside the classroom. The Cockcroft committee recommended, for instance, that mathematics may arouse more motivation and better performance if its application to adult life and work is taught. I am sure that there are lessons there for other parts of the curriculum.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

Will the Minister extend his research in this matter to discover why there is so much truancy in the Palace of Westminster, particularly from this Chamber?

Sir Keith Joseph

We all come here under varying compulsions, but our attendance is not subject to the law as is the attendance of schoolchildren during compulsory periods.