Kay Hallahan

Kay Hallahan

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    Massive crackdown on truancy to start next month

    19/01/1993 12:00 AM
     
     
    Parents will be tipped-off when their kids wag school as part of a massive Government crackdown on truancy starting next month.
     
    Education Minister and former policewoman Kay Hallahan today said the crackdown would cut day-time crime and ensure young people got a sound education.
     
    She said the Lawrence Government aimed to slash the number of persistent truants by 50 per cent within three years.
     
    New software would be distributed to all secondary schools next month so they could use computers to keep a close check on student attendance.
     
    Students skipping classes would be immediately reported to parents, police and school welfare officers for follow-up action.
     
    "Truancy is a waste of young people's potential and contributes to petty crime," she said.
     
    "If we are to develop a highly skilled and productive workforce as outlined in the Premier's Adding Value plan, then we need to encourage young people to complete their schooling."
     
    Mrs Hallahan made the announcement at Timezone in Murray Street Mall, one of a chain of family amusement centres joining the fight against truancy.
     
    "Timezone has a strict code of ethics which, among other things, sets out that school students are not permitted at Timezone during school hours," she said.
     
    The Minister said there were an estimated 1,500 chronic truants among Western Australia's 250,000 school students.
     
    Identifying truants was only part of the problem, she said.
     
    The Government was moving to address one of the main causes of truancy - educational underachievement - through a series of measures including:
     
    ·         introducing voluntary full-time, pre-primary programs for five year olds so learning problems can be detected early;
    ·         expanding literacy and numeracy programs for primary school students;
    ·         launching an inquiry into disabilities and learning disorders which impede educational progress;
    ·         overhauling the critical final years of schooling to make them more relevant to the needs of all young people; and
    ·         offering alternative education programs at seven locations to reintroduce chronic truants to mainstream education.