Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Wagging Off School
There are three points to make about today's dire truancy statistics (see DCSF stats release here).
First, as the chart shows, overall truancy has continued to climb. The percentage of half days missed due to unauthorised absence in primary, secondary and special schools in England increased from 0.92% in 2005-06 to an all-time high of 1% in 2006-07. A decade ago it was 0.73%.
The picture in secondary schools is even worse, with a truancy rate last year hitting another all-time high of 1.5% compared to 1% a decade ago. That's a 50% increase under educationeducationeducation Labour.
Second, this has all happened despite Labour's much vaunted £1.5bn anti-truancy programme (see this blog). The stated aim was to reduce truancy by one-third: the outcome has been an increase of one-third. That money has been completely wasted.
Third, truancy gets much worse as pupil age increases. By Year 11 (15-16 year olds), the truancy rate is over 2.5%:
Now, looking at the chart you'd almost think that while kids will accept primary schooling, once they get into their teens at secondary school they are highly likely to kick against the whole idea of forced schooling. And the older they get, the more likely they are to feel that way.
Thank goodness then they can at least leave at 16. At least then the teachers can focus on the kids who want to be there, and not prolong the misery for those that don't.
Except... OMG, didn't I read somewhere that our arrogant clothead commissars are going to raise the school leaving age to 18?
Nah, surely even they wouldn't want to be explaining Year 13 truancy rates of 10-20%.