Poll: 43 children found truanting on Ipswich streets by council and police officers yesterday

Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Police took to the streets and retail parks of Ipswich to tackle truancy in a positive way, to safeguard the lives of children.; PCSO John Wood and Welfare Officer Julie Robinson chat to people in the town centre. Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Police took to the streets and retail parks of Ipswich to tackle truancy in a positive way, to safeguard the lives of children.; PCSO John Wood and Welfare Officer Julie Robinson chat to people in the town centre.

Thursday, December 19, 2013
3:46 PM

A co-ordinated sweep by officers from Suffolk County Council and the police found 43 youngsters truanting from school in Ipswich yesterday.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Police took to the streets and retail parks of Ipswich to tackle truancy in a positive way, to safeguard the lives of children.Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Police took to the streets and retail parks of Ipswich to tackle truancy in a positive way, to safeguard the lives of children.

Education welfare officers and the police teamed up for the day to scour the town centre, retail areas and housing estates looking for school-aged young people during school hours.

Eight parents of children who were found yesterday have received £60 fixed penalty notices and 10 of the children were immediately returned to school by the officers.

Persistent failure to get a child to school can result in a jail sentence.

One woman in Ipswich yesterday told education welfare officers that her son wasn’t in school because he had spilt beetroot on his shirt the night before and she had to buy him a new one.

Reasons generally revolved around the child being unwell. One 14-year-old boy was discovered on his own without his parents.

Co-ordinated sweeps of the kind seen yesterday are carried out about 10 times a year in Suffolk.

In the last academic year over 200 parents in the county were prosecuted for allowing their child to truant.

323 young people were stopped in the streets during school hours and found to be out of school without permission in the academic year 2012-13.

235 of these were of secondary school age and 88 were primary school age.

Of the 204 parents prosecuted, 162 were for first offences and 39 were second offences. One parent was sentenced to four weeks in prison.

Suffolk is near the bottom of league table rankings for school attendance; 127th out of 152.

There is a strong correlation between poor attendance and academic achievement.

Figures from the Department of Education show that 88% of children that regularly miss days in school fail to gain five good GCSEs – 45% fail to get any.

Furthermore two thirds of young people with attendance of 93.5% and above get five good GCSEs (between A*-C). This drops to just over a quarter for pupils with attendance of 88% or below.

Councillor Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said: “As a busy parent myself, I know that it can sometimes seem necessary or desirable to take your child out of school.

“But when you consider the fact that a 90% school attendance record is equivalent to missing half a year of secondary school, it really brings home the need for young people to be in school learning every day.

“We have an excellent education welfare service in Suffolk and our staff work hard with police to educate parents about the need to ensure their children are in school. But sometimes tough action is needed to enforce the point that a child’s education must always come first.”

However last night Labour’s shadow spokesperson for education, skills and young people, Councillor Sonia Barker, said that tough action wasn’t tough enough adding, “this administration tinkers around the edges with the talking shop that is ‘Raising the Bar’.”

Citing figures that the number of fixed penalty notices issued for truancy in Suffolk was 0.63 per 100 pupils, compared to 11.57 in London, the former teacher said the role of education welfare officers needed to be strengthened and better resourced.

“We know that London schools have much better attainment than Suffolk schools,” she said. “But we also know that the authorities in London take attendance much more seriously than Suffolk County Council.

“It is time this administration stepped up to the plate and showed some leadership over the subject of attendance at school.”

21 comments

  • Citizen, you are correct when you say it is a parent's responsibility but as many households have both parents at work, where it is difficult to get time off at a moments notice or involves travelling several miles etc. what then? What is needed is to solve the reason why children do not like school. The reason children "bunk off” are many & varied, it doesn't mean they are idle or "bad". A step forward could be a strict uniform code of dress, thus not making children from less well off families being made to feel isolated & also making them look conspicuous out & about in school time. It should also be pointed out those children of people with poor parenting skills are not to blame. These children are disadvantaged because of reasons outside their control. Society is to blame; we think nothing of breaking rules of conduct, breaking speed limits, parking restrictions, littering etc. but when a policeman gives you a ticket we get “haven’t you got better things to do..” Truancy is a complex thing to stop & a fine is nothing but a knee jerk reaction.

    Report this comment

    Parlie

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • I see this on a daily basis as i walk through the town unfortunately.It will be these children without an education who resort to crime and drugs unfortunately. The parents should be accountable for their children and their behaviour,although a large percentage dont really care what they get upto.

    Report this comment

    fordy

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Only 8 of the parents of the 43 children found truanting were fined, chances are they were repeat offenders. Ipswich has loads of children bunking school, including my neighbours son who prefers riding his motorbike and trashing gardens

    Report this comment

    Enigma

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Isn't there better things the police could be doing, like, erm... tackling violent crime and preventing these kids grannies getting robbed by con men?!

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • If children are out of school, without their parents knowledge, then fining the parents, is rather unfair, if it was my child that had traunted without my knowledge, leading me to be fined £60, that would be £60 less they would get for either their birthday or Christmas . However if the parents have allowed the children to be off ,for no creditable reason, then they deserve to be fined.

    Report this comment

    Michelle Wright

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • I can't believe in a society where your kids can have a free education parents take their kids out of school! There are many country's around the world that don't have this privilege. These bad parents should be disgusted with themselves.

    Report this comment

    Mr DJ

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • nice to see Ebenezer Scrooge is a live and well working for Ipswich police,why oh why would they fine people £60 at a time when money is at its tightest? this is clearly a money making scam, I feel every time these 8 children watch the film "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" they will think "how Ipswich police stole mine" after all we know the last 2 days at school before Christmas, no school work is done ,its all mufti days bring in a game, school plays

    Report this comment

    matspur

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • I wouldn't get too excited about the £60 fines. I expect that a fair proportion of these kids come from 'benefit' homes and the likelyhood of these fines actually being fined is probably a fraction over zero.

    Report this comment

    how'd the town do

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Maybe they should fine teachers for unauthorised absence every time they take part in that old activity called "striking"...

    Report this comment

    Mister Cynical

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • With the advanced comm's technology of today couldn't all schools have contact details for parents or guardians so that any child not at school for registration within 15 mins of scheduled start time be contacted for reason child not at school. Fining some parent who has barely enough to manage normally accepted food & clothing standards for achild has reason to not want to attend school (Could be wayward or bullied!) What is needed is to find out why children don't want to go to school & find a solution. Even when I went to school in the 50's some children played truant!

    Report this comment

    Parlie

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Hear we go again another old idea from the sixties, what muppets we have in places of our society who think they are being clever. These people get paid good money for acting like fools, and look it as well. People will have to get real one day and stop going to university for a job in stacking supermarket shelves and learn the trade of life on street corners instead. You can see muppet's from a great distance with the University of Life training behind you.

    Report this comment

    a west

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • The truant man on his bike and the thought that if he turned up on the doorstep your backside would be slapped was enough for kids in my day to stay at school. Sitting here in my 60's I'd love to be back at my secondary school great times great teachers who we respected, probably because they had lived in the real world and a lot of them had served their country in the war in one way or another.

    Report this comment

    waspie

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • That should read actually being paid.

    Report this comment

    how'd the town do

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Matspur: the education system is funded by the tax payer! I pay my taxes all year round not just Christmas. So why would a selfish parent want to take their kids out of school effectively costing the tax payer??

    Report this comment

    Mr DJ

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • nice to see Ebenezer Scrooge is a live and well working for Ipswich police,why oh why would they fine people £60 at a time when money is at its tightest? this is clearly a money making scam, I feel every time these 8 children watch the film "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" they will think "how Ipswich police stole mine" after all we know the last 2 days at school before Christmas, no school work is done ,its all mufti days bring in a game, school plays

    Report this comment

    matspur

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • I can't believe in a society where your kids can have a free education parents take their kids out of school! There are many country's around the world that don't have this privilege. These bad parents should be disgusted with themselves.

    Report this comment

    Mr DJ

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • I feel that to fine parents is unfair. I go to work after my 14 year old has gone to school. If he is not at school then they phone me to say. They then leave it up to me to find him. Also parents have to take their kids out of school to go on holidays as the airlines and accommodation charges are stupid during school holidays. I do agree though that I lose money if I have to take time off for strikes etc. By the way, when a kid is 14 years old they can stay at home on their own. If corporate punishment was in place the kids wouldn't be half as bad as they are now and discipline would be there.

    Report this comment

    Ann Godefroy

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Ann Godefroy - have you ever heard of the phrase "parental responsibility"? It's the parents job to make sure their offspring get to school. If the school tells you they aren't there do you expect the teachers to go out and find them? Surely not? And why take your kids out of school for a holiday, it's always been the same and parents used to like it or lump it. The problem is that parents now expect to have the ultimate right to do as they please and then complain when their little darling fails all their exams and ends up on the dole. this is not aimed at you but some of the parents would benefit from corporal punishment with their attitudes to their children.

    Report this comment

    Citizen

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • nice to see Ebenezer Scrooge is a live and well working for Ipswich police,why oh why would they fine people £60 at a time when money is at its tightest? this is clearly a money making scam, I feel every time these 8 children watch the film "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" they will think "how Ipswich police stole mine" after all we know the last 2 days at school before Christmas, no school work is done ,its all mufti days bring in a game, school plays

    Report this comment

    matspur

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Ipswich Entrepreneur you are missing the point here. The police are being proactive and targeting those kids who will most likely grow up to be the con men and violent criminals you talk about because they don't have any qualifications and can't get a decent job because their parents were quite happy to allow them to miss school.

    Report this comment

    IMP

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

  • Er, we didn't get paid for that day Mister Cynical - the whole point of a strike. As for the end of term easing off comments - well my Year 11s this morning went through their mock exam feedback and looked at where they performed well and where they lost marks; my Year 8s did their project presentations and completed their formal assessment, and my Year 10s this afternoon worked on their mock coursework reports following fieldwork last week. Don't make such sweeping generalisations when you clearly know very little about what goes on in school. It is ridiculous that some parents don't value education - if you don't value your child's education you are effectively limiting their life choices!

    Report this comment

    alittlebitwoolly

    Thursday, December 19, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

loading...
iwitness24 Your news is our news Facebook Like your local paper Twitter Join the conversation Ipswich Borough Council

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT