Truancy is continuing to increase, despite the government’s concerted efforts to crack down on unauthorised absence from school through measures including police sweeps and penalty notices for the parents of truants.

Schools with ‘serial truants’ have been told to take harsh action to stamp out the problem. Schools Minister Jacqui Smith has announced an intensive drive against the 146 secondary schools with an estimated 8,000 serial truants between them, who together account for one in five of all instances of truancy nationally.