Monday, October 30, 2006

Truancy: It takes cash to care
It was reported this month that Lewisham has one of London’s highest rates of bunking off school: For the past year, 7,176 primary pupils were absent with an average of eight half-days missed. Figures for secondary students show 3,671 bunk off, with 15 half-days missed on average.

The Government has spent £900 million since 1998 to reduce truancy but still 30,000 kids across the country skip school. Meanwhile independent schools, although not perfect, have fared better: The Department for Education and Skills reports that the national percentage of half-days missed per pupil this year is 0.14% for pupils that go to fee paying schools. That compares with 0.46% and 1.22% for State primary and secondary schools respectively.

It seems to me that if the Government used that near billion quid in education vouchers, topped up with income tax receipts, all parents could send their kids to independent schools. It would solve more than just truancy…

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