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Last Updated: Monday, 8 March, 2004, 11:17 GMT
Pupils paid 100 for turning up
Truant children
Police and council officers were on the look out for truants
Manchester schoolchildren could win a prize just for attending lessons, as part of a plan to tackle truancy.

Each week, a computer will select random names of six pupils from six different schools across the city.

They will each win vouchers worth up to 100 if they have been in classes at particular times.

In the scheme, which runs for ten weeks, their classmates will win 15 vouchers if their teachers can confirm they were in school as well.

The first names were due to be drawn by the computer on Monday.

'Carrot dangling'

Meanwhile, education officials and police will search local areas for truant children.

Once the 10-week pilot is over, education staff will monitor the effects before deciding if and how it would be implemented full time.

Mick Waters, Manchester City Council's chief education officer, said: "This is about dangling a carrot in front of all students for a trial period to see if we can get some of our non attenders back in their classrooms and back in the habit of regular attendance.

"It also recognises the hard work and efforts put in by the vast majority of our pupils who do come into school every day and who wouldn't dream of missing school unless they were ill or had another school authorised reason for not being there."

Opposition councillor Brendan Jones, Lib Dem education spokesperson, said the initiative neeed to be seen alongside the council's truancy sweeps.

"It is quite important we keep on top of this issue," he said.

More than 1,300 pupils were stopped and questioned on the streets during truancy sweeps in the city from September to December 2003.

Councils can now fine parents who are found out with their children when they should be in school.

Fixed penalty truancy fines begin
27 Feb 04  |  Education
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02 Mar 04  |  Have Your Say

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