School truancy rates holding back performance
Recent research by the OECD has found that truancy rates in the UK are higher than those in other developed nations, leaving pupils behind their peers in top performing nations across Europe and the Far East.
Almost a fifth of secondary school pupils stated that they skipped at least a day of lessons over a two week period, in contrast with less than one in 100 in parts of China making the same claim. The study showed that 18% of UK pupils sitting a new test had ‘skipped a day of school in the two weeks’ before the examination, compared with an average of 14.5% across all developed nations.
However, in light of these figures, the government argues that it has cut the numbers of pupils classified as persistently absent following several reforms. These include fining parents who permit their child to be absent, and a more flexible approach to term dates, allowing them to become more family oriented.
The reforms can be seen to have led to a significant drop in the number of pupils classified as ‘persistent absentees’, with 311,000 in 2012/2013 as compared to 450,000 in 2010.
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