'Schools must be made responsible for truancy even if parents are to blame' (DM)

Kathy Gyngell, CPS expert, continues her Right Minds Blog on where the blame lies for truancy and how the problem can be solved.  

“Tough talk on truancy sounds less and less convincing. Millions spent on punishing parents have not paid off…

Last September he threatened to take child benefit from recalcitrant parents. Now he seems to think that putting up fines will do the trick. But he should know by now that ever more punitive sanctions, as each new set of truancy figures cap the last lot, won’t solve the problem…

Tony Blair promised to get a grip on the problem. He played the parent blame game. They had to be punished. Fining and prosecuting parents was progressively stepped up under Blair then Brown.But 16,500 penalty notices each year, thousands of fines (25,657 of them in 2009/10) several parents ending up in prison and for what? Truancy still doubled over Labour’s term in office.

And it’s still running at a record high – a staggering 64,000 truants on any one day and 27,000 of them are persistent absentees. Now primary school truancy is on an upward path.

There’s no question Michael Gove has to take the problem seriously. He is right; it’s these children who feed the gangs, the knifings, the drug use, the youth offenders’ institutes and later will fill the prisons.It may or may not be the fault of inadequate, incompetent or malign parents, but that doesn’t make them the solution. Yet that’s the line that has consistently and stubbornly been taken”

Click here to read the full blog on the Daily Mail’s Right Minds.

Date Added: Friday 30th March 2012