Friday, 26 October 2007

The right target for truancy

News that truancy has continued to creep up is dispiriting given the amount of effort that has gone into addressing the problem over the years. Some targeted schemes have had a real impact on schools, but since a lot of truancy is parent-condoned, it is always going to be a particularly tough nut to crack. Whether or not the government is right to move from national to local targets is a moot point - the real focus needs to be relentlessly on the schools with the biggest problem and on serious and persistent unauthorised absence.

However, it is a bit rich to hear a Tory spokesman upbraiding the government for dropping a national target - given how his colleagues constantly bemoan targets that have successfully cut waiting lists and times for patients. Yet Michael Gove, the shadow schools secretary, is quoted thus on the BBC website.
The government have failed to get to grips with rising truancy. But instead of working harder to meet their target they have simply scrapped it.
Since scrapping targets is the centrepiece of Tory public services policy - and it is hard to find where else they differ from the government - surely he should be celebrating not carping?

No comments: