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Tuesday, December 30, 1997 Published at 16:49 GMT



UK

Truancy to be tackled by £22m campaign
image: [ A range of methods are being tested to try to keep kids in school ]
A range of methods are being tested to try to keep kids in school

Innovative methods of stopping children playing truant are part of a £22m initiative being launched by the Government.

The programme, which includes a pilot scheme using pagers to let parents know if their children are absent from school, is also aiming to cut the numbers of children expelled from school.


[ image: Schools Minister Stephen Byers]
Schools Minister Stephen Byers
Schools Minister Stephen Byers said the Government was supporting 119 locally-devised programmes.

"This Government is serious about tackling truancy and indiscipline within schools. We want to stress the importance of early action to stop children from skipping school or misbehaving in class," he said.

Other schemes organised by local education authorities include:

  • Bristol: establishing a mentoring scheme for black pupils

  • Wolverhampton: giving parents assertive discipline training

  • Walsall: community-based Truancy Watch combined with giving pupils passes to be out of school.

Mr Byers said the projects would be useful in giving the Prime Minister's Social Exclusion Unit information on how new approaches could address the problems of truancy and permanent exclusions.

"If our youngsters are not in the classroom they are not learning," he said. "We would be letting our children down if we allowed them to get into the habit of not attending school. Without a good education they will be denied the life chances open to others, leading to possible exclusion from society as a whole."








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