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'Fight truancy with free curry' scheme criticised

22/07/2009 Joanna
Unions representing those with jobs in education are unhappy with one Southampton's school's policy of offering parents of children with good attendance the chance to win a meal.
The headteacher of Glenfield Infant School, Joanne Dorricott, said that she was "delighted" by the success of the scheme which had seen absenteeism drop by half.
"We need to embed how important it is to get children to school at this age. Otherwise we have lost them," she added.
But Ron Clooney of the NASUWT Union which represents those with school staff jobs said that instead of using a rewards-based system, parents of persistent truants should face a prison sentence.
If their children's attendance stays above 95 per cent then parents can enter a prize draw where they could win a voucher worth £40 at a local curry house.
The school's last Ofsted inspection found that pupil attendance had dropped below average.
Overall, Glenfield was praised for its "good care, guidance and support" of students by teaching staff.
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