HC Deb 04 July 2002 vol 388 cc484-6W
27. Huw Irranca-Davies

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the long-term social and economic costs of truancy, particularly in communities of high deprivation. [64422]

Mr. Stephen Twigg

The Government are fully aware of the consequences of truancy, especially of its links with educational underachievement, unemployment, homelessness and in particular crime.

We are continuing to tackle this issue through a number of initiatives. These include nationally co-ordinated truancy sweeps and the investment of £66 million in the Behaviour Improvement Programme which is being funded in those local education authorities identified as having high truancy and high crime rates.

It is important that parents and local communities are encouraged to see the importance of regular attendance and share responsibility for preventing truancy.

30. Mr. Illsley

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action she proposes to reduce the level of truanting taking place with parental consent. [64425]

Percentage of half days missed due to (a) authorised and (b) unauthorised absence in secondary schools in England
1996–97 1997–98 1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01
(a) Authorised absences
(i) Foundation 7.3 7.2 7.3 7.0 7.5
(ii) Voluntary aided 7.9 7.7 7.3 7.1 7.4
(iii) Voluntary controlled 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.1 7.5
(iv) Community 8.5 8.3 8.2 8.0 8.4
(v) Specialist 7.4 7.3 7.7
(vi) City technology colleges 6.1 6.1 5.8 5.9 6.2
(vii) Grammar schools 4.8 4.9 5.1 4.8 5.1
(b) Unauthorised absences
(i) Foundation 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.7
(ii) Voluntary aided 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.7
(iii) Voluntary controlled 0.9 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
(iv) Community 1.3 1.4 1.3 1.3 1.3
(v) Specialist 0.9 0.9 0.9
(vi) City technology colleges 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2
(vii) Grammar schools 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1


Information for 2001–02 is not yet available.

Mr. Laws

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her estimate is of the change in(a) school truancy and (b) school exclusions between 1998 and 2002; and if she will make a statement. [66284]

Mr. Stephen Twigg

The information requested for schools in England is as follows:

(a) School truancy 1997–95 2000–01
Percentage of half days missed due to unauthorised absence 0.7 0.7

(b) Permanent exclusions from school 1997–98 2000–011
Primary schools2 1,539 1,460
Secondary schools2 10,187 7,410
Special schools3 572 340
Total 12,298 9,210

Mr. Stephen Twigg

We have introduced a higher penalty for those parents who know that their child is not attending school and taken no reasonable steps to secure their attendance. We are examining ways in which the Government can support the prosecution process by sharing information and guidance.

Magistrates can now impose Parenting Orders as a means of underlining parents' responsibility for their children's behaviour and providing parents with structured help and support.

We have also introduced truancy sweeps which can help to identify parents who are not taking their child's attendance seriously. These send the strong message to parents and the wider community that children should be in school.

Mr. Willis

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of children of secondary age were absent from school due to(a) authorised and (b) unauthorised absence in each of the years 1996–97 to 2001–02 in (i) foundation, (ii) voluntary aided, (iii) voluntary controlled, (iv) community, (v) specialist, (vi) city technology college and (vii) grammar schools. [65400]

Mr. Stephen Twigg

[holding answer 1 July 2002]: The information requested is shown in the table.

1 Provisional estimate

2 Maintained

3 Maintained and non-maintained

The truancy and exclusion data are collected by academic year therefore the latest figures available are for 2000–01.