Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has said that absenteeism in schools cannot be tackled in isolation by targeting the children involved.
Mr. Hazzard said,
“The statistic show that absenteeism is higher in areas of high deprivation so we must look at a holistic approach if we are to progress in reducing the figures further.
“Although at present we have over 93% of children attending secondary school and 95% attending primary school on a regular basis we need to ensure that no child is left behind in the education system.
“There is little doubt that regular school attendance and educational attainment are intimately linked. Not only does regular attendance ensure that pupils get the best possible outcomes from their period of compulsory education but they undoubtedly improve their chances of employment and life opportunities in the longer term.
“However we must look at the underlying causes that make children miss school and economic deprivation seems to be high factor in this.
“We therefore must look at all the issues causing children to miss school rather than attempting to tackle the issue child by child.
“The recent initiative by the Education Department to get parents more involved in their child’s education will also help identify and rectify some problem children who are intent to skip school”.