This means a child is missing school on a regular basis for no good reason. Many pupils bunk a class or two during their school years. Often is the start of the road to dropping out of school. It has far reached consequences for children, the adults they will become, and the Society in which they will live.
Truancy is often blamed on all parties …. schools, parents and the children. The truth is that all three environments contribute towards truancy and impact on the extent thereof. The child’s own circumstances and self-image is important, their relationship with their parent/s or caregivers and their expectations as well as the characteristics and circumstances within the school.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EXPLANATIONS A CHILD MAY GIVE FOR NOT WANTING TO GO TO SCHOOL?
- Most parents have heard the excuse “I have a tummy ache,” by a little one. You keep him home and minutes later he is well and running around. Be sure there is another reason behind the tummy ache.
- Another complaint is “I have no friends” or “nobody wants to play with me”.
- “I am being bullied” is another explanation.
- Circumstantial factors such as transport problems, not having lunch, not having all needed for school also plays a role.
- Not coping with the demands of the academic work becomes a big problem as they grow older and feel left behind in the class because work is not understood.
- Kids who are not coping, quickly find each other and as a peer group influence each other to bunk. That is when they start getting involved in anti-social behaviour.
RESEARCH BY SWISS NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC FOUNDATION HAD THE FOLLOWING RESPONSES FROM PUPILS FOR THEIR REASONS FOR NOT WANTING TO ATTEND SCHOOL
- Some parents do not value school and an education
- Do not feel safe to get to school
- Poor relationships with teachers
- Teaching is irrelevant
- Their teachers do not care about them
- They fear tests
- The work is too difficult and for others the work was not challenging enough
WHAT CAN PARENTS DO??
- Take an active interest in your child’s education and schooling.
- Provide your child with everything or as much as possible that is needed for their schooling.
- Stay in regular contact with the school and it’s support systems – attend parents evenings or arrange for appointments if there are concerns.
- Explore with your child, the reasons for skipping or wanting to skip school, so you understand the behaviour and assist in finding alternative solutions to the problem/s.
- If issues of truancy persist, then seek professional support and counselling to prevent the situation spiralling out of control.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SCHOOLS BY THE SWISS FOUNDATION TO CREATE A SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT WHERE CHILDREN WANT TO BE.
- Each child should have a teachers, dedicated and who cares about their education and is interested in their well-being.
- Teachers who will ensure the children are safe.
- Teachers should communicate and engage with both parent and children about concerns.
- Experience has proven that children who have teachers who are interested in them are happier children at school.