Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, today pointed to newly published figures showing truancy has soared across Hertfordshire?s secondary schools, and warned this was damaging children?s welfare and could lead to more petty crime across Hertfordshire.

    Figures recently obtained by Conservatives in Parliament show that across Hertfordshire, unauthorised absences in secondary schools have risen by 50 per cent since Labour came to power. A total of 66,314 school days are effectively now lost through truancy every year across Hertfordshire. Across England, truancy has risen by 11 per cent since 1996-97.

    Peter Lilley said:

    “The rising level of truancy in Hertfordshire is yet another broken promise by the Government. They once pledged to cut truancy by a third, but it has actually risen by a half in secondary schools across the county since 1996-7. Truancy not only damages the education of children, in many cases it is the start of a criminal lifestyle.

    “I am frankly surprised by these figures since we are fortunate in having so many good schools and dedicated teachers in this area. But it may reflect the problem of teacher shortages and low morale and barriers to exercising effective discipline. Hard-working professionals in our schools are being undermined, and it is vital that parents and the public at large are aware of these growing problems.?