Successive governments in the UK have tried to tackle the increasing problem of truancy in British schools. It is estimated that truancy in UK schools is costing the truants involved a considerable chunk of their education. Others also fear what truants are getting up to when they are not in school, with evidence pointing towards an increase in youth crime along with alcohol and drug abuse.
The most recent government figures for the UK (October 2011) show that 450,000 children miss around 1 month’s education every school year. More than 1,000,000 truant for half-a-day each week. The number of what the government deems “persistent truants” is put at 7.2% of all children of school age. In 2010, the figure was 7%. A “persistent truant” is a child who misses 15% of their lessons.
While figures for secondary school truants have always been of a concern for governments, the rise in primary school truants has become a major concern in 2011.
On any average school day in the UK, 23,244 primary school children truant. It is feared that those who truant at this age will become an attendance problem when at secondary school age.
On any average school day in the UK, 64,500 children of school age truant school.