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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 156

Date:- 19 June 2004

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WIRRAL SCHOOLS ARE SET TO TACKLE TRUANCY PROBLEM

WIRRAL LEA is tackling truancy and safeguarding pupils' welfare by installing the automatic parent notification system Truancy Call at over 35 of its primary and secondary schools. 

Truancy Call allows school staff to implement first day contact with parents of absentees via email, SMS text and voice calling, and to obtain a direct response from the parent without the need to invest in new telephone systems, additional phone lines or a new computer.

The scheme to introduce electronic registration and first day contact systems, which is part of wider initiatives to combat absenteeism within the LEA, has been funded by £650,000 from Wirral Borough Council. 

Schools in the area that have chosen to install Truancy Call will be funded for the first year by Wirral LEA and then encouraged to continue using the system thereafter.

At a time when there is mounting pressure to ease the workload on teachers, Truancy Call will slash the amount of administration time spent chasing the parents of absent pupils. 

The LEA is also just completing the 3 year CIC Project which involves a commitment from Merseyside police for regular truancy sweeps combined with a research project investigating the causes, impacts and "cures" of truancy. The results of the study will be available from October this year.

Mike Clarke, Team Manager of Education Social Welfare Service in the Wirral LEA said:- "Our attendance levels in the area are favorable compared with the rest of the country and we are keen to keep our schools at the top of the league tables. In offering our schools the chance to use Truancy Call we are supporting them in raising attendance that in turn leads to increased attainment." 

For more information on how Truancy Call can benefit your school please contact 0870 046 4246.

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Liverpool leads national crackdown on truancy.

LIVERPOOL has been chosen to lead a pioneering government scheme to crack down on parents of truants.

The city is one of the first councils in the country to issue penalty notices to parents who keep their children out of school without permission.

Fines of up to £100 can be handed out by education welfare officers, head teachers and the police to parents who are unwilling to fulfill their responsibilities to send their children to school.

Penalty notices will not be issued to parents who have the school's permission to take their child on holiday during term-time.

Help is available to parents who require support, such as dedicated mentoring, parent support sessions, school reports, in-school counselling and referral to Education Welfare Services.

Lesley Sheriff, Liverpool City Council's acting principal attendance and welfare officer, said:- "We already have a number of initiatives in place to tackle the problem of truancy and we believe the use of penalty notices will help us further.

We have issued a small number of notices in the last two weeks and they have already had a positive impact as a deterrent to parents who keep their children away from school without good reason and permission.

We believe this scheme will help to ensure our children get the most out of their."

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