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Basingstoke to take part in pilot scheme to tackle truancy
TRUANCY will be the subject of special attention in Basingstoke after the area was chosen as the location for a pilot scheme.
As part of the Supporting Troubled Families initiative, Hampshire County Council and partners, including the police, will step up their support and intervention to tackle truancy.
The pilot scheme will involve a number of agencies, which will work with the council to support schools in tackling unauthorised absences.
Over the course of a week, at the request of schools, the organisations involved will visit the home of a child who has not turned up for school and whose absence has not been reported by their parents or carer.
The home visits will help to establish any underlying reasons why a child may be consistently absent from school and identify professional support for the child and its family, that could help to ensure significant improvement in their attendance at school.
Checks will also be made in shopping centres, parks and other recreational areas where young people may congregate when they are truant.
If a pupil is caught playing truant, their details will be taken and a letter will be sent to their family home, explaining the legal implications.
Councillor Keith Mans, executive lead member for children’s services at Hampshire County Council, said: “In line with the rest of the county, Basingstoke has excellent school attendance rates compared to the national average but, just as in other areas of the county, there is a very small minority of children who are persistently absent from school.
“Through the Supporting Troubled Families programme, this multi-agency initiative is about focusing on that minority and working together with their parents to find out the underlying reasons for frequent absence and providing appropriate support to ensure children go to school each day as they should do.
“Regular school attendance is crucial to helping ensure a child has the best possible start in life.
“Children who miss school frequently for reasons other than serious illness are at greater risk of falling behind with their studies and not achieving as well in their exams as their peers.
“This, in turn, can have a negative impact on their future and restrict the range of choices open to them for further education, training and employment.”
It is hoped that the Supporting Troubled Families programme will, over time, improve the lives of families, have a positive impact on the communities in which they reside, and reduce the costs on the public purse.
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