Dungannon truancy among highest in North

editorial image

More than one in ten primary school pupils from the Killymeal area of Dungannon were persistently absent from school last year.

The truancy rate for the electoral ward, which encompasses the north and eastern part of the town, was the highest in Mid Ulster and among the highest in Northern Ireland, according to figures released by the Department of Education at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Meanwhile Stewartstown has the lowest truancy level in the North, with no pupils recorded as persistently absent.

Persistent absence means missing more than 15 percent of timetabled classes.

Normally, if a pupil’s attendance at school drops below 85% of days over a period of time, this triggers follow-up action.

Initially, this can involve a parental visit from an education welfare officer, and there is usually a long process before parents are prosecuted.

Last year 4,217 pupils across Northern Ireland were referred to the Education Welfare Service because of concerns about attendance, but only 160 parents ended up in court. Parents can be fined up to £1,000 for each child who regularly fails to attend.