HC Deb 29 March 1994 vol 240 c790
15. Mr. Booth

To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many truancy watch schemes he expects to be established under his recent initiative to crack down on truancy.

Mr. Forth

A total of 101 schemes were suggested by local education authorities for inclusion in the 1994–95 truancy and disaffected pupils grants for educational support and training programme. Half the 86 approved schemes include a "truancy watch" element along the lines of a pilot scheme currently operating in Staffordshire. My right hon. Friend has been much encouraged by the many expressions of support for those schemes from senior police officers and representatives of the business community.

Mr. Booth

Is the Minister aware of the widespread support for the Government's truancy initiative, especially in areas such as Finchley, where there is great support for education generally? Will he also tell us what steps are being taken to encourage, enhance and train parents to support those truancy efforts?

Mr. Forth

My right hon. Friend and I lay an enormous stress on dealing with the problem of truancy. We believe that young people should be in school, being educated, and should not be at risk outside school. We believe that that is of the greatest importance. I have been encouraged by the positive response from schools and from local education authorities, which have been involving their community, the police, education and welfare officers and, I hope, increasingly involving parents, on whom rests the statutory responsibility for ensuring that their children are in school and learning when they should be.

Mr. Riddick

Question 16.

Madam Speaker

The hon. Gentleman will be lucky.