Authorities sweep streets for truants

TRUANCY sweep teams are today preparing to hit the streets of Suffolk to weed out those who should be at school.Education welfare officers and Suffolk police are joining forces to carry out the drive, planned for the next few weeks.

TRUANCY sweep teams are today preparing to hit the streets of Suffolk to weed out those who should be at school.

Education welfare officers and Suffolk police are joining forces to carry out the drive, planned for the next few weeks.

Elizabeth Maloney, assistant education officer at Suffolk County Council, said: "The county council takes the issue of school attendance very seriously and we work very closely with schools, parents and young people on this issue.

"In law, parents are responsible for ensuring their children receive a full-time education, so that when children are registered at a school they must attend there regularly.

"Whilst we do work to support parents in making sure their children go to school, the responsibility for this always remains with parents."

Last year similar sweeps were carried out across the county and proved to be very successful.

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The first push was made between December 9 and 13 last year. During this period, 344 young people were stopped.

Although 74 per cent of these were with their parents or carers, only 33pc had a valid reason as to why they were not in school.

The second set of sweeps targeted ten Suffolk towns, including Ipswich, Felixstowe and Leiston, between May 6 and 23 last year.

This uncovered 486 youngsters not in school. Just under half of these were accompanied by an adult, but 41pc had no legitimate reason about why they had bunked school.

Valid reasons given for being absent included being on work experience or study leave. It was explained to parents with their children that is their responsibility to ensure their offspring attend school.

Mrs Maloney added: "We have carried out several successful truancy sweeps with the police across the county and plan more of these as a means of emphasising to parents the importance of good school attendance."

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