Truancy patrols in shopping centres and parks
111 pupils stopped last week
Truancy patrols were out in the borough’s shopping centres and parks every day last week as part of a national sweep to improve attendance.
Education social workers and community attendance officers from the council joined local police and parks police in stopping 111 young people in the borough from 15-19 November.
Most had genuine reasons for not being in school and all primary school pupils were accompanied by a parent or carer. However, nine secondary pupils who were not in school could not give satisfactory reasons for their non-attendance. In all cases a phone call was made to their school by the council’s education social workers, who also sent letters to their parents. It is left to schools to decide on any follow-up action.
The truancy sweep covered the town centres of Hammersmith, Fulham and Shepherds Bush as well as the borough’s parks. Weekly truancy patrols take place across the borough all year during term time. Apart from stopping children and young people who are not in school, the patrols act as an effective deterrent to would-be truants.
Efforts by the council and schools to ensure more children attend regularly and on time are paying off as the borough achieved the most improved figures in England for primary pupils out of 150 local education authorities (LEAs).
Government statistics show an improvement in primary attendance in Hammersmith & Fulham of almost one percentage point – three times the national average. The figures cover the percentage of half days missed by primary school pupils in 2003-4, compared with 2002-3.
Initiatives which have helped to produce these improvements include
Promotional campaigns are carried out in particular schools and borough-wide and aim to make parents and children more aware of the need to ensure good attendance at school and the problems children who are not in school can encounter, including getting involved in crime or becoming the victims of crime.
Cllr David Williams, deputy for education, said: “It is so important that all children attend regularly and on time. In partnership with parents and the police,
November 28, 2004