Education Minister vows to get tougher on truant schoolchildren

England’s schools will be required to publish an attendance policy and there will be a compulsory register (Picture: Getty Images Europe)

A crackdown on truancy will make sure pupils benefit from ‘every possible hour in the classroom’, the government says.

Under plans announced in the Queen’s Speech tomorrow, England’s schools will be required to publish an attendance policy.

There will be a compulsory register so authorities can identify which children are not in full-time education.

The Schools Bill will also include a new national funding formula aimed at distributing cash on a ‘fair and consistent basis’.

The bill also includes plans for schools to join multi-academy trusts with a strengthened regulatory framework — a proposal for education unions have resisted.

Ofsted will be given greater powers to crack down on ‘unregistered schools’ and the Teaching Regulation Agency will have more power to investigate misconduct.

Local authorities will be responsible for offering support to home-schooling families as the government amps up efforts to guarantee no child slips through the cracks.

Labor has hit out at the new bill, claiming ‘the Conservatives are obsessing over structures instead of improving children’s experience in the classroom’ following two years of Covid chaos.

‘This Bill contains no plan to support children’s pandemic recovery. No plan to improve teaching and tackle the exodus of school staff from our classrooms’, Shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said.

‘No plan to ensure more young people gain essential qualifications. No plan to give children the broad education that young people, parents and employers want to see. No plan, no ambition, no vision for our children.’

But Boris Johnson has insisted education is ‘at the very heart of this Government’s agenda’.

‘We are determined to raise standards in our schools so every child has access to the same opportunities wherever they live, and our brilliant teachers are supported to do what they do best, which is why we’re putting our education ambition into law this week ‘, he said.

‘By giving every child a good education, we’re giving them the opportunity to thrive so they can reach their full potential and secure the jobs needed, this is absolutely vital to our leveling up mission.’

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi insisted it ‘will create a school system that works for every child, parent and family, bringing every school up to our current best standards’.

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He said: ‘In combination, this work will make sure every child has access to an education that they deserve and helps them fulfill their potential.’

Also expected in the Queen’s Speech is a Higher Education Bill that will enable the introduction of the promised lifelong loan entitlement, allowing people to retrain at any point.

Under the plan people can access a loan equivalent to four years of education, £37,000 in today’s fees, that they can use over their lifetime for a range of studies including shorter and technical courses.

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