Those who don't bother and those who do bother

Year: 2005

Author: Lee, John, Davies, John

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The problem of attendance, particularly at secondary school, has been a matter of concern in England and Australia for years. More recently the Labour government has actively sought to improve attendance by the use of both ameliorative and punitive measures. Regardless of these endeavours The Times Educational Supplement reports claims that "Truancy is worse under labour".

The body of research literature indicates that students who absent themselves are those from low achieving groups who are unlikely to gain certificates valued in the world outside school. The research reported in this paper is innovative in that as well as drawing on data from non-attenders it uses data from groups of students who, although low achievers and placed in low streams/tracks in school continue to attend.

The research involves the use of qualitative methods, interviews, group discussions and focus groups. The voices of young people and their reasons for attending and not attending are presented. Data from parents, teachers and Education Welfare Officers is drawn upon. The research shows is that young people are capable of providing cogent arguments for their actions and are able to comment on the nature of school and schooling.