Written Answers. - Rates of Truancy.

Tuesday, 10 October 1995

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 456 No. 6

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[1506]

  103.  Mr. O'Dea  Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   her views on whether the rate of truancy in Ireland is increasing steadily; the steps, if any, she proposes to take to rectify this situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14504/95]

  118.  Mr. O'Dea  Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea   asked the Minister for Education  Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach   the reported rates of truancy for each of the years 1990 to 1994. [14505/95]

Minister for Education (Ms Bhreathnach): Information on Niamh Bhreathnach  Zoom on Niamh Bhreathnach  I propose to take Questions Nos. 103 and 118 together.

My Department does not currently have available detailed or reliable data on the incidence of truancy in Ireland during the years in question. In the absence of such data, it is not possible to comment with any assurance as to emerging trends in this area.

On the last occasion on which comprehensive data on school attendance was collected, in 1983-84, the average daily attendance was fairly constant at 90 per cent to 91 per cent.

The Deputy will be aware that I published the report of my Department's working group on truancy in April, 1994. One of the issues highlighted in that report was the absence of adequate data on school attendance and the working group made a number of recommendations in relation to this matter.

Following the publication of the truancy report, my Department received a range of submissions from interested parties on the measures which should now be taken to address this very difficult area.

In keeping with its commitment to address the problems of truancy and early drop-out, the Government appointed the Minister of State Deputy Austin Currie with special responsibility for this area. The Minister of State subsequently announced the establishment of a task force, the terms of reference of which are to examine the submissions received from interested parties in response to the report on truancy, and consider and make recommendations as to future action required to address the problem of truancy at first and second level.

The work of the Truancy Task Force [1507] is well advanced and it is anticipated that the final report will be presented to the Minister of State Deputy Austin Currie shortly.


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