Primary Truants

I heard on the news today that primary school truancy is on the rise. Is this real? 22,600 primary school children played truant last year. This is a 50% rise over the past five years.

These are 6 year olds. Aren’t they supposed to be doing what adults tell them to do? I am struggling with how a 6 year old plays truant. Where do they go? What do they do?

This story has really astounded me. As a child, truancy was something that I came into contact with in my teenage years. I think I played truant once and never again. I was always looking over my shoulder and found the whole experience far from fun. We hung around in the park, but away from the street so not to be seen. Looking back, this was a stupid thing to do. Unoccupied parks are not the safest places to go as a child.

I worry for my two little girls and I will be looking at the truancy statistics of the school that I send my child to. Being exposed to truancy so young can lead to all sorts of behavioural issues.

So whose problem is this? The schools; the parents; the government; or does everyone have a part to play in making sure our children remain at school and attend the lessons they are meant to.


5 Comments to “Primary Truants”

  1. Hi Buntyy,

    Could very young children miss school without their parents’ knowledge? It may be that these children are struggling within the education system and need help. These are such formative years of their lives, I read that many children reach high school not being able to read and write properly. It can only be an up-hill struggle from there…


  2. The statistics are skewed. In primary schools of most education boards, if children are taken on holidays during the school year, they’re classed as truant. They can only take up to ten days off under exceptional circumstances. This was to try to solidify the importance of early education in the eyes of parents, especially those ones who take holidays during term time because they are cheaper then.

    Saying that, I did skip school at primary school, but this was when I was almost finished, so I was 11 going on 12. It definitely hasn’t impacted on my education, I went in to high school, university, and am now studying for a professional qualification. But I hated P.E. and home economics classes so much that I used to disappear with some friends for a few hours at a time.

    This obviously is a problem for some kids though, especially vulnerable ones who need structure in their lives, or who may be prone to grooming… but the actual statistics for these types of children are lower than published.

    • Thanks for this clarification of regulations. Truanting primary school children is of great concern to me. I really want to know what do they do and where do they go? We need to keep our children safe.

  3. I don’t think primary school aged children are roaming the streets – there is no way that is going on en masse – they will just be at home looking after a parent or watching tv while their alcoholic parent sits there in a drunk stupor. Incidentally I know of loads of kids that went on long trips to SE Asia during school terms and thank god the truancy officers went around to their homes.

  4. I wouldn’t be so sure that 6 year olds are not roaming streets. I am not saying this happens in the masses but my husband recently did some outreach work on this subject and what 6 year olds that come from what seems like decent families and areas get up to, would surprise you. They are hanging around with older children and getting caught up in behaviour.

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