Truancy Sweeps improve attendance at Fenland schools

Children who attend school regularly are four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs, including English and maths, than those who are persistently absent. Truancy, however it comes about, is not good for children and must be reduced.

A joint initiative has been launched by Cambridgeshire County Council and the police to improve school attendance in the Fenland area.

The truancy sweeps – which will focus on Chatteris, March and the surrounding villages – will also aim to promote child safety by emphasising the importance of making sure children are in school.

All children of compulsory school age will be stopped even if they are accompanied by parents, carers or relatives and live outside the targeted areas.

Parents or carers of truanting pupils will then be contacted by an Educational Welfare Officer and notified of the Education Welfare Service procedures. Their school will also be contacted and made aware of the absence and their attendance at school will be monitored.

The sweeps will take place in March, Chatteris and the surrounding school catchment areas, with the aim of reducing levels of unauthorised absence.

Although Cambridgeshire’s school attendance rates are in line with the national average and truancy is minimal, there is still room for improvement in Fenland.

As a joint initiative with schools and police we want to send a clear message that it is unacceptable for a child to miss school without good reason and also that truancy is not necessarily the only explanation or cause for poor school attendance.

Parents of persistent absentees or truants and are being warned they could end up in court facing fines and – in a worst case scenario – imprisonment. Children need to be in school learning, Parents have a legal duty to ensure their child or children are attending school regularly. By missing out on school children are limiting their potential and missing out on vital learning at a particularly important stage of their lives.

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