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Truancy

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 9 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and in what percentage of cases of parents charged with offences related to failing to ensure their child attended school have ended in a conviction since 1997. (318273)

[holding answer 24 February 2010]: Information from the Ministry of Justice court proceedings database on the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for offences relating to failing to attend school in England, 2001 to 2008 can be viewed in the following table. Prior to 2001 these offences cannot be separately identified.

These data are a further breakdown of those published in the “Criminal Statistics, Supplementary Volumes for England and Wales” for the years 2001 to 2008.

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts and average fine imposed for offences relating to ‘failing to attend school’1, 2

Year

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Proceeded against

1,961

3,163

3,849

4,442

4,648

5,999

7,745

9,506

Found guilty

1,595

2,572

3,065

3,549

3,740

4,720

6,035

7,291

Percentage

81.3

81.3

79.6

79.9

80.5

78.7

77.9

76.7

1 Includes the following;

(i) Failure to secure regular attendance at school. (Education Act 1996 S.444 (1)(8)).

(ii) Parent knows that their child is failing to attend school regularly and fails without reasonable justification to cause him or her to attend school. (Education Act 1996 S.444(8)(1a)(8a) added by Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 S.72).

2 Prior to 2001 these offences cannot be separately identified.

Notes:

1. The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

2. Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Source:

Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice. [Ref: IOS 85-10]

The increase in the number of cases over this period reflects a sustained drive, led by the Government, to improve levels of school attendance including by encouraging local authorities to make more use of their powers to proceed against parents who are failing in their legal responsibility to ensure their children receive a full time education. The outcome has been a significant improvement in school attendance, with on average 70,000 more pupils in school each day than would be the case if absence rates were still at the level of 1996/97.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 10 February 2010, Official Report, columns 1091-92W, on pupils: absenteeism, if he will provide the equivalent figures for secondary schools in (a) 2005-06 and (b) 2007-08; and if he will provide the equivalent figures for all schools in 2006-07. (318421)

[holding answer 24 February 2010]: The requested information is shown in the tables for 2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08. For information on Persistent Absentees that are white British split by gender in 2006-07, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 23 February 2010, Official Report, column 548W.

Secondary schools1: Number and proportion of persistent absentees2 by free school meal eligibility, in England

All pupils3

Pupil enrolments who are eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees

Proportion of pupil enrolments who are eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees4

Pupil enrolments who are not eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees

Proportion of pupil enrolments who are not eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees4

All pupil enrolments classified as persistent absentees

Proportion of pupil enrolments classified as persistent absentees4

2005/06

71,130

16.0

142,180

5.5

217,390

7.1

2007/08

54,230

12.9

110,000

4.4

167,610

5.6

1 Includes middle schools as deemed, city technology colleges and academies. 2 Persistent absentees are defined as having 64 or more sessions of absence (authorised and unauthorised) during the year, typically over 20 per cent. overall absence rate. 3 Number of pupil enrolments in schools from start of the school year. Includes pupils on the roll for at least one session who are aged between five and 15, excluding boarders. Some pupils may be counted more than once. 4 The number of persistent absentee enrolments expressed as a percentage of the total number of enrolments with the same characteristics. Note: Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10. Source: School Census.

Maintained primary, state-funded secondary and special schools1, 2, 3: Number and proportion of persistent absentees4 by free school meal eligibility, 2006/07, in England

Pupil enrolments who are eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees

Proportion of pupil enrolments who are eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees6

Pupil enrolments who are not eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees

Proportion of pupil enrolments who are not eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees6

All pupil enrolments classified as persistent absentees

Proportion of pupil enrolments classified as persistent absentees6

All pupils5

95,760

9.3

172,010

3.2

272,950

4.1

1 Includes middle schools as deemed. 2 Includes maintained secondary schools, city technology colleges and academies (including all-through academies). 3 Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools. Excludes general hospital schools. 4 Persistent absentees are defined as having 64 or more sessions of absence (authorised and unauthorised) during the year, typically over 20 per cent. overall absence rate. 5 Number of pupil enrolments in schools from start of the school year up until 25 May 2007. Includes pupils on the roll for at least one session who are aged between five and 15, excluding boarders. Some pupils may be counted more than once. 6 The number of persistent absentee enrolments expressed as a percentage of the total number of enrolments with the same characteristics. Source: School Census.

Secondary schools1: Number and proportion of persistent absentees2 by free school meal eligibility, in England

White British3

Pupil enrolments who are eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees

Proportion of pupil enrolments who are eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees4

Pupil enrolments who are not eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees

Proportion of pupil enrolments who are not eligible for free school meals classified as persistent absentees4

All pupil enrolments classified as persistent absentees

Proportion of pupil enrolments classified as persistent absentees4

Boys

2005/06

28,200

18.9

58,630

5.4

86,830

7.0

2007/08

21,060

15.5

43,490

4.2

64,540

5.5

Girls

2005/06

28,970

19.6

62,600

5.9

91,570

7.6

2007/08

22,420

16.5

48,720

4.8

71,130

6.2

1 Includes middle schools as deemed, city technology colleges and academies. 2 Persistent absentees are defined as having 64 or more sessions of absence (authorised and unauthorised) during the year, typically over 20 per cent. overall absence rate. 3 Number of pupil enrolments in schools from start of the school year. Includes pupils on the roll for at least one session who are aged between five and 15, excluding boarders. Some pupils may be counted more than once. 4 The number of persistent absentee enrolments expressed as a percentage of the total number of enrolments with the same characteristics. Note: Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10. Source: School Census.