Ipswich: Police Crack Down On Truancy

19 December 2013, 07:03 | Updated: 19 December 2013, 08:28

43 young people have been found skipping school by police and education welfare officers in Ipswich.

As a result, 10 young people were immediately returned to school and a further 8 parents will be handed £60 fixed penalty notices for allowing their children to be out of school unauthorised.

The sweep is part of a series of planned operations aimed at ensuring young people are in school.

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."

Last year in Suffolk, 323 young people were stopped on the streets during school hours and found to be out of school without permission. Of those: 

  • 126 were with parents or guardians.
  • 161 were boys and 162 were girls.
  • 235 were secondary school age and 88 were primary school age.

There's a link between poor attendance and academic achievement. Figures from the Department for Education show that 88% of children that regularly miss days in school fail to gain 5 good GCSEs - and 45% fail to get any.

Sergeant Martin Memory from Ipswich Central Safer Neighbourhood Teams said:

“We have worked in partnership with the education welfare department and support their strong message that children need to attend school and truancy will not be accepted.  Officers from across Suffolk came together to provide resources for this positive campaign.  It’s about keeping children safe and making sure they are where they should be so they are not putting themselves in potential danger.”