New figures show worrying rise in truancy in Greenwich

Newly published figures showing that truancy has risen in Greenwich’s secondary schools, particularly in Eltham, show this is damaging children’s welfare and could lead to more petty crime across the borough. In 1997-8, 16% of pupils in Eltham had played truant over the year, 37% in Greenwich & Woolwich and 23% in Erith & Thamesmead; by 2004-5, this had risen to 49%, 39% and 33% of pupils respectively.

This shows that truancy is a growing problem in our schools. Despite promises of a Government crackdown on truancy and £1 billion of taxpayers’ money spent on ‘initiatives’ to tackle truancy and behaviour, too many children still miss school. Truancy not only damages the education of children, in many cases it is the start of a criminal lifestyle. It is vital that parents and the public at large are aware of this worrying trend.

Greenwich Conservatives believe that some parents need to take greater responsibility for getting their children to school. Regular attendance at school should also be a key part of an enforceable home-school contract. Too many young people are turned off school and would benefit from being able to study more vocational subjects. Despite the hard work of our teachers and schools, we need more than just gimmicks and initiatives from the Government.