§ Mr. Barry Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what measures he has instituted to reduce the incidence of truancy; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hain
The Welsh Office issued draft guidance on "School Attendance and the Role of the Education Welfare Service" in December. The consultation ends on 20 February. Final guidance will be issued shortly thereafter fulfilling the undertaking given in the White Paper "Building Excellent Schools Together".
An OHMCI Report "Improving Attendance and Behaviour: An Evaluation of Welsh Office [GEST] Funded Projects in Nine LEAs" was published on 12 December 1997 with the aim of spreading good practice.
LEAs in Wales have indicated they propose to spend about £0.5 million on truancy and discipline measures through the Department's Grants for Education Support and Training programme (GEST) in 1998–99. Authorities were informed of their individual allocations on 30 January.
The Department's Youth Access Initiative 1998–99 has required local authorities and TECs to produce joint action plans to tackle the problems of disaffection among young people who are not receiving education or training and are not in employment. For young people below school leaving age the plans will help them to return to mainstream education. Welsh Office support in 1998–99 amounts to £1.6 million.