Truancy

We wanted you tell us your views on truancy

Each of the 10 agencies responding asked the young people they work with to give their opinions and thoughts. Where possible the actual words people used are given; you will see from this that there are a number of different ways of describing staying off school: skiving, dogging, skipping, plunking and plugging, these are all used throughout the answers.

85 young people sent in their views. Of these 82% had experience of staying off school and 18% had not done it themselves.

In pulling together the views of children and young people we use a number of pieces of text or art work which they have sent. To see more artworks and larger versions please go to the Groups Taking Part pages.


What went through your mind when you were thinking about missing a lesson or whole day?

Young people of primary school age said:

“What are they going to say tomorrow?” or a similar expression of concern about getting into trouble as a result of staying off (7 said this)

“Nothing” – I just thought about playing football or school is boring (2 said this)

“It was good” (1 person said this)

Young people of secondary school age said:

“It was boring at school, no good classes” (EYSIP)

“I can’t get rows from teachers” (Levenmouth Links)

“Nothing, I wasn’t bothered if I got into trouble” (Crannog)

“Canny be bothered going and next time I go back into school, I’ll get shit.” (Crannog)

“I was thinking about being with my pals and not about my education and how it could be damaged by not going to school” (Right Track)

“I was thinking ma Da was going to find out, but he never did.” (Right Track)

“I was thinking about what would happen to me by my family and teachers”  (Right Track)

“Don’t like to ask for help/don’t understand subject. Teacher thinks I’m thick.” (Xplore)

Some young people wrote a play about truancy and bullying called 'The Big Bully', Download it here.

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Why do you think young people skive, skip or dog-off school?

A range of reasons were given and these have been scored according to how frequently they were mentioned by those who gave their views.

The ten most stated reasons for staying off school were:

  1. School is boring (X19)
  2. Don’t like teachers (X14)
  3. Peer pressure (X11)
  4. Bullying (X11)
  5. To avoid particular subjects (X10)
  6. Too tired (X9)
  7. Hate school (X8)
  8. Can’t be bothered (X6)
  9. Struggle with school work (X5)
  10. To get stoned or drunk (X3)

Other reasons included:

Shouted at, at school - Distance to travel to school (1 hour and 1 or 2 buses) - The fun of skiving - Having to look after a parent or siblings

Primary school age young people said:

“You stay off because it is boring and you just work all the time” (Blackford Brae)

“They hate school, they don’t like their teachers and work is too hard.”  (Matrix)

“Some children just don’t like working” (Matrix)

Older young people said:

“Lessons are boring and you don’t even need it later in life eg who uses trigonometry?” (Levenmouth Links)

“They are sick of doing work all the time and doing the same things.”  (Right Track)

“One of the reasons I don’t go to school is because I get shouted at and I don’t like being shouted at so I don’t go to school.” (Crannog)

“I think young people skive off school because they can’t be bothered with it or cause of bullying” (Crannog)

“I think people dog school because they can’t do the work and they hate teachers.” (Right Track)

“People stay off school because they only think of the short term instead of long term (the effect of dogging school).” (Right Track)

“Because the teacher rules you and you have to wear uniform and take lectures off them.” (Right Track)

“Because there is nothing to do in school... I used to get chipped out of French every day I went in so I started dogging it every day... so I didn’t go to that class for three months.” (Right Track)

“Can get away with it.” (Xplore)

“Schools too big!” (Xplore)

“Lost my smart card - could not get a temporary one so no money for lunch/no lunch.” (Xplore)


Is there anything school should do about young people skiving, dogging or skipping school?

Primary school age young people said some different things about what should be done

One or two felt that they should just be left to “truant school” or “No they should be left alone” (Matrix) while others suggested a range of different approaches:

"Sit down and have a wee chat with you. School should be more interesting because skiving can be quite boring." (Blackford Brae)

"Call parents or police." (Blackford Brae)

"Make work a little easier." (Matrix)

"Start school later – 12pm - because kids are tired." (Blackford Brae)

"Send for the plugging man." (Matrix)

Older young people had mixed views about what could be done about 'people dogging it':

“The schools cannot do anything to stop people dogging it because its natural to dog it.” (Right Track)

“I stayed off because all my pals were staying off so I didn’t feel left out.” (Right Track)

“I was really scared, I had butterflies but I thought it would be better to stay with my pals than to go to school.” (Right Track)

Secondary school age young people suggested a range of different approaches, these have been grouped according to 'hard' or 'soft' they are. Someone at Levenmouth Links project felt that there should be 'harder deterents' such as:

 Detention (X4) (EYSIP and Levenmouth Links)

 Police talks on the dangers of skipping school (Levenmouth Links)

 Security Cameras (Levenmouth Links)

 Electronic Tagging (EYSIP)

 Social Work involvement (Levenmouth Links)

 Extra work or making up time or even sending school work home to be done (EYSIP)

 Send someone home after them or visit their house (X2) (EYSIP)

Other older young people felt that the issues causing young people to truant should be addressed:

“School should listen for once to the pupils instead of being controlling and authoritarian. Be more understanding, spend more time talking and listening, some teachers provoke young people until they loose their head.” (Crannog)

“Nothing. I would go if I didn’t have to write. I would go and write if I was paid for going. It would be OK to fine people who didn’t as long as you’re not ill.” (Crannog)

“Aye, get teachers to listen.”  (Xplore)

“Deal with bullies- buddies, befriending schemes.” (Levenmouth Links)

“I think they should have someone like a youth worker to help get rid of the problem, help them continue to go to school. Maybe the length of the day could be shortened a bit.” (Right Track)

“More training for teachers so that they can understand pupils a bit more especially if some pupils are having a difficulty at school or at home.”  (Crannog)

“Ask them what they want changed and ask them if they are getting too much work.” (Right Track)

“Maybe they just want some extra time with friends and time away from adults.”  (Right Track)

“They should pick up pupils in the morning to make sure they don’t meet up with their pals and skip off school.” (Right Track)

“Better contacts with parents.” (Levenmouth Links)

“Put radio in classes to make it more fun.” (Levenmouth Links)

“Make school fun, classes exciting and lessons more interesting, perhaps using interactive stuff, not just text books.” (EYSIP and Levenmouth Links)

“Do computer work.” (EYSIP)

“Playground supervisors and more things to do during break time.” (Levenmouth Links)

“More things to do at break time e.g. pool, football (Xplore)

“Spread tests throughout the year.” (Levenmouth Links)

“Do away with school uniforms.” (Crannog)

“If teachers treated us like adults.” (Levenmouth Links)

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