Login Register

Police hot up battle against the truants

A TRIAL police round-up of truants missing lessons from two Kirklees schools will go ahead.

A TRIAL police round-up of truants missing lessons from two Kirklees schools will go ahead.

The Attendance Watch scheme will target pupils of Rawthorpe High and Earlsheaton High at Dewsbury for the rest of this term.

Councillors at last night's cabinet meeting were alarmed to hear that 5,000 pupils in Kirklees stayed away from school each day, even though most had a legitimate reason.

Clr John Smithson, cabinet member for life-long learning, said the operation was as much for the child's protection as for education.

He added: "When this scheme was first put forward I had my reservations. But the head teachers have been consulted and were in favour of it.

"A pilot trial in Calderdale has been effective.

"It our trial is successful it could become a permanent feature."

Clr Mehboob Khan was "absolutely stag- gered" by the number of absentees in the district every day.

"One of the biggest problems we have is of anti-social behaviour by pupils during the day," he said.

"If this is successful, and we roll it out, it will not only get the children into the schools but also reduce some of the other problems, like pretty crime and vandalism."

Clr Khan also wanted to know why Fartown High School which has one of Kirklees' worst attendance records, was not in the trial.

Chief education officer Gavin Tonkin said the school had other schemes in place.

During the trial, teams of up to three police officers and three education social workers will visit places where truants are known to go.

No arrests will be made unless the pupils are committing crimes.

Council leader Clr Kath Pinnock said: "Although we have a significant problem, the unexplained absence rate is below 1%.

"Not all are on the streets. There are lots of reasons why they are not at school. Some are schoolphobics."


Doug Thomson
Huddersfield Town correspondent
Chris Roberts
Huddersfield Giants correspondent
Louise Cooper
Crime correspondent
Nick Lavigueur
Health Correspondent
Joanne Douglas
Local Government Correspondent
Linda Whitwam
Education Correspondent
Henryk Zientek
Business Correspondent
Martin Shaw
Mirfield Correspondent