Absence rates at Enfield schools highest in London, figures reveal

First published in News by

Parents have been urged not to take their children out of school after new figures revealed Enfield has the highest number of school truancies in the capital.

Statistics from the Department of Education show that as of 2012/13, 2,097 were persistently absent from school, the highest of all London boroughs by more than 200.

However, figures did reveal that there had been a decrease from 2,528 in 2009/10, a fall of 17 per cent.

Conversely this is the worst improvements from any local authority in the country with the average fall in truancies at 30 per cent.

Enfield Borough Councillor Ayfer Orhan, cabinet member for children and young people admitted the council is concerned by the high number.

She said: “We are of course concerned by these figures and it is not something we take lightly. Children missing school is a major issue and we have implemented a robust strategy to try and cut down on the number of unauthorised absentees.”

Cllr Orhan also revealed that numbers tend to peak around term breaks and holidays and that parents must understand the importance of their children not missing school.

She said: “We can see that there are peaks either slightly before a half term or just after it when families have gone away and their child hasn’t returned to school on the first day back.

“It is fundamental that children have justifiable reason when they can’t attend school because missing the lessons can be crucial.”

The councillor also went on to say that Enfield will be getting tough with persistent absentees.

She added: “I will be asking for every school to provide figures of authorised and non-authorised absentees and we will be conducting an internal investigation.

“Our schools have been able to provide a lot of evidence about who is not attending and we believe next year’s figures will be much improved once persistent offenders are identified.”

Nick de Bois has welcomed the news but believes more needs to be done.

He said: “I am pleased that rates are down by 17% but as the rest of London has shown we can do more. I want to see the council get behind this initiative and support schools that are trying to make a difference for our children's education.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove said: “There is no excuse for skipping school. We have taken action to reduce absence by increasing fines and encouraging schools to address the problem earlier.

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