§ Mr. Barry Jones
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will publish the truancy rates in secondary schools in 1979, 1980 and 1981; what action he is taking to combat truancy in Wales; if he will publish a report on his policies regarding truancy since May 1979; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Michael Roberts
Data on school attendance are collected on two sample days per year, but reasons for absence are not given. In September 1979, 1980 and 1981* 11 per cent. of pupils were absent; previous studies suggest that unjustified absence may account for slightly under one third of these figures.
It is for local education authorities and schools to take action to discourage unjustified absence from school, if necessary by prosecution of parents in the courts. The Welsh Office has consistently emphasised the serious effects on pupils' education which may result from even casual absence, most recently in the document "Planning for Progress".
* Provisional figure.