ATL comment on truancy figures
Nansi Ellis, assistant general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said:
“Our members know how vital school attendance is to the learning of children and young people. However, we’re very concerned about the increased use of fines and custodial sentences as a tool to tackle absenteeism. We believe a one-size-fits-all approach can be costly, not only to parents and families who may not be able to manage it, but also to the vital relationships between schools and parents.
“The rise of fines and custodial sentences also raises questions as to the effectiveness of this approach. Although term-time holidays are an issue for schools, the reality is that pupil absence happens for a range of reasons; bullying, caring responsibilities, impact of family breakdown, the impact of poverty, parental health issues or special educational needs.
“Tackling pupil absenteeism is important for schools and we need an approach which builds on partnerships with other schools and with local services and agencies including health, social service and the local authority. Truancy is a deeply complex issue and the journey to get pupils in school is only the first step to fully engaging them and their families to support their learning and ensure they get the opportunities to develop.”