Truants to be targeted

For the next three weeks, Merton police and educational welfare officers will be patrolling Merton’s streets, shopping centres and known truancy hotspots, challenging young people who are out of school to provide an authorised reason for their absence. Truants will be immediately returned to their schools or an agreed place of safety, and they and their parents will be given support to improve their school attendance.

The National Truancy Initiative co-ordinated by the Department for Education and Skills began on Monday 17 November and will run through to Friday 5 December.

Merton’s Neighbourhood Wardens and CCTV staff, along with the Connexions Service will also be working alongside the LEA and police on the initiative.

This is the fourth round of national truancy sweeps, data from the sweeps conducted across the country last May shows that teams apprehended over 14,000 young people. More than a third, 5,742 did not have a valid reason to be out of school, and of these nearly half were accompanied by an adult.