Studies have frequently suggested that children who leave full-time education early or have a poor attendance record are more likely to be unemployed and be involved with social issues such as crime, anti-social behaviour and substance abuse. Those who are not in education, training or employment are also more likely to suffer from mental health issues and financial hardship.
The Government has clamped down on truancy in recent years since shocking statistics suggesting that some 10,000 children regularly missed school, were published in 2001. Recent research outlined the main reasons behind high rates of truancy as boredom and a lack of interest in learning and a fear of bullying. Missing whole days at school can make children fall behind; prolonged truancy can make children fall so far behind that they may not be able sit upcoming exams and may have to re-sit the whole year. Repeated truancy will impair a child’s educational success and hamper them in their adult life. Truancy has several consequences, not only for the child involved but also for their parents, teachers, classmates and members of wider society.
Consequences for parents
Since the Government stepped up its campaign to stop truancy, punishments for parents whose children miss school have become increasingly harsh. New measures introduced earlier in the decade mean that parents of truants can be heavily fined and even sentenced to time in jail. Truancy is a great source of anxiety and anguish for parents who try their best to encourage their children to attend school; in many cases parents are unaware their children are missing school as children are often willing to lie to cover themselves.
Support with truancy
If your child is playing truant there are several measures you can take to try and stop the problem; firstly you should talk to them about why they don’t want to go to school; there may be a genuine reason such as bullying, which is making them fear going to school. Try to discuss the problem with the school; they will be able to explain the situation and work with you to improve your child’s attendance. If your child continues to skip school the school may be forced to take action; this may mean you face legal action or you may be able to come to an agreement which involves signing a parenting contract; this measure is not a form of punishment but is instead designed to monitor and improve your child’s attendance; it usually requires you to stick to a set routine, which may involve taking your child to school each morning for example. You can also seek help from your local authority. The Government is working closely with schools and children’s charities to tackle bullying in schools; this should help to make school a safe and enjoyable place for all children.