Children who play truant from school be tracked ‘rigorously’ to help stop non-attendance

Children who play truant are to be named on an official register as part of plans to boost school attendance.

The move, due to be announced in the Queen’s Speech, will see children for the first time put on compulsory registers to find those who are not getting a full-time education.

It is part of a series of measures in the Government’s new schools Bill, as part of its ambition for “leveling up” education.

Ahead of the Queen’s Speech, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, said: “I want every parent across the country to know that their child’s education is at the very heart of this government agenda.

“We are determined to raise standards in our schools so every child has access to the same opportunities wherever they live, and our brilliant teachers are supported to do what they do best, which is why we’re putting our education ambition into law this week .

“By giving every child a good education, we’re giving them the opportunity to thrive so they can reach their full potential and secure the jobs needed – this is absolutely vital to our leveling up mission.”

Fines for families of absent children

It comes after the Department for Education issued new powers for schools on fines for families who allow their children to skip school.

Fines will be allowed by schools to fund services to prevent truancy, whereas previously fines were only used to help fund further fines or prosecutions.

Councils have also been asked to “rigorously track” data of children’s attendance of both school and social services.

The Education Secretary has previously told councils to warn parents of the “repercussions” for children missing school.

Further measures in the schools Bill will include giving Ofsted powers to crack down on illegal unregistered schools and increasing powers to investigate teacher misconduct.

It comes alongside the new higher education Bill, which will give over-18s access to a new Lifetime Loan Entitlement – so they can access about £ 37,000 worth of study and technical courses over their lifetime.

Nadhim Zahawi, the Education Secretary, said: “We want every school to be part of an academy trust, enabling teachers to focus on what they do best – meeting the needs of every child. Schools’ approach to attendance is being overhauled to make sure every child gets the benefit of every possible hour in the classroom.

“In combination, this work will make sure every child has access to an education that they deserve and helps them fulfill their potential.”

In March last year, it was revealed that more than one in 10 secondary school pupils had been absent since schools and colleges reopened, amid fears that older students were unwilling to return to the classroom.

The nine per cent of students that were missing was roughly double the usual rate of 4.5 per cent of the school population.


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