A TRUANCY patrol has stopped SEVENTEEN children in the streets of Swadlincote during school hours.
Children playing truant are being targeted by Derbyshire County Council’s truancy patrol to ensure pupils are in school and learning.
The authority’s education welfare officers and the police have already been patrolling the streets, shopping centres and truancy hotspots of Swadlincote and nearby on the lookout for children who are playing truant.
During their first sweep on Tuesday, 17 children, aged five to 15, were stopped. Details were taken about their reasons for absence and followed up with the schools. The majority were accompanied by an adult.
Further sweeps will be carried out today. Any pupil out without a genuine reason for absence will be immediately returned to school or an agreed place of safety. Parents will then be offered support to improve their child’s attendance.
The sweeps are part of Derbyshire County Council’s work in conjunction with schools to improve attendance.
Attendance is improving across the Derbyshire with fewer children missing school than the national average.
Councillor Kevin Gillott, deputy leader of the county council and cabinet member for children and young people, said there was no excuse for deliberately missing out on education.
He said: “Every day matters and if you are not in school you can’t be learning.
“Every day of school missed is a lost opportunity and I am pleased parents are becoming more aware of the importance of regular attendance and the virtues of consistent education.”
Attendance rates for Derbyshire schools are at or slightly above the national average. Figures for 2012/2013 saw a 94.2 per cent attendance rate at both Derbyshire and a national level at secondary school.
In primary schools, Derbyshire had a slightly higher attendance rate at 95.5 per cent compared to the national 95.3 per cent.
Persistent absences are also down in Derbyshire – and well below the national average.
In secondary schools, persistent absences (when a pupil is out of school for more than 15 per cent of the time) are down to 6.2 per cent.