Get back to school! Police and schools team up to get tough on truants

Truancy patrol in Boston town centre. L-R Sgt Mel Doko, PCSO Jaki Smith, Kirton Middlecott School's Carol Kerry, St Thomas School's Katie Basham, Haven High's Chelsea Iron, PCSO Marie Williams and Amanda Thompson, education welfare officer at Haven High.
Truancy patrol in Boston town centre. L-R Sgt Mel Doko, PCSO Jaki Smith, Kirton Middlecott School's Carol Kerry, St Thomas School's Katie Basham, Haven High's Chelsea Iron, PCSO Marie Williams and Amanda Thompson, education welfare officer at Haven High.

Kids caught playing truant have been packed off back to school in a police riot van as part of a major crackdown in the town.

Officers and school officials have been taking to the streets in Boston on the hunt for youngsters who should be at school.

PCSO Marie Williams said: “This is the first of many multi-agency truancy sweeps.

“There’s an education that’s being missed because of lost days. This is to make people aware there’s somebody out there looking at unauthorised absences.”

In last Wednesday’s patrol 28 youngsters of schooling age were stopped, of which 14 were girls and 14 boys.

Sixteen were of primary school age and 12 of secondary. Of these two were excluded from school, two were home educated, six were ‘not assigned’ to a school, 12 were ill – with seven having dentist, hospital or doctor appointments – and one was on holiday from outside the area.

PCSO Williams said if pupils are ill they should not be hanging around town and pointed out appointments do not last the whole day.

Of those that had no reason for being out of school, four girls – who were found unaccompanied – were returned to school in the back of a police riot van and one boy was taken to an ‘alternative location’.

The children’s details were passed to their schools and the county council and parents or guardians 
were contacted.

Boston Witham Academy Federation’s education welfare officer Amanda Thomson said one police officer had even walked into the home of a child they suspected was playing truant and found them out of school with no reason.

She said: “It’s good for joint working, police have got 
the powers and we know the kids.”

Truancy is a criminal offence for parents and can result in a fine or imprisonment.