Rates of truancy on the increase
KENT’S pupils are more likely to bunk off lessons than those in other parts of the country.
The number of skipped lessons in both Kent and Medway’s schools increased last year from one per cent to 1.12 per cent of half-day sessions.
That compares with the overall truancy rate in England’s schools – which increased slightly last year to a record 1.01 per cent of half-day sessions.
In Kent, unauthorised absences from primary schools increased from 0.55 per cent to 0.62 per cent, while secondary school absences were up from 1.49 per cent to 1.57 per cent.
But some pupils are worse than others. More than 7,000 pupils typically missed a fifth of their lessons, both with and without permission, although that number had fallen from 4.2 per cent to four per cent in the past year, above the national average of 3.6 per cent.
In Medway the number of persistent absentees stayed constant at 3.6 per cent, which equals just more than 1,300 pupils.
KCC Cabinet member for children, families and education standards Leyland Ridings said: “I am pleased that Kent has again shown significant improvement in attendance at secondary schools across the county. This is better than the improvements indicated for the rest of the south east and is in line with national improvement.
“In addition, due to the dedicated focus on persistent absentees, Kent schools have also achieved a significant reduction in pupils who miss 20 per cent or more of their schooling.”
Mr Ridings attributed the drop in absences to a number of initiatives, including in-school support, family group conferences, truancy sweeps and more formal measures, such as fines.
“We cannot be complacent, we intend to maintain this trend of improvement and have a range of initiatives in place to achieve this.”
Children stopped during a truancy sweep in Folkestone