After the spin that the Council put on the GCSE results in the Time magazine I wonder how they're going to handle this.
News Shopper reports that Greenwich has the highest level of primary school truancy in London and the second highest in the country (3 times the national average). For secondary school we're the second highest in London.
Let's just boil down the article to a couple of figures for the autumn term.
Compared to the 2005 autumn term the 2006 one saw an increase of 1.3% in primary school truancy and 3% in secondary (those secondary school kids must be pipped at not being as bad as their primary school counterparts but they're pulling their socks up!).
What was Greenwich's response to the figures.
"School attendance figures are rising across the borough."
Erm, no they're not. Maybe the spring and summer terms of 2007 (the 2006 academic year) were really bad and they've dropped since then.
Sadly the Department for Children, Schools and Families (formerly the DfES) are stopping collecting and publishing those truancy statistics. Autumn 2006 is the last set they'll publish.
If all you heard from the Council was "school attendance figures are rising" you'd think things were great, it's only when you hear that we were the worst in London that you begin to worry. I get a nasty feeling it's going to become so much easier for the Council to hide the true scale of the problem.
I'm confident that we'll see the local opposition parties taking the Council to task over this...
If you want to see some figures about how Greenwich really does in terms of education compared to the rest of the country then look here for some nice easy to read sets of figures.
For example it's dead easy to tell that in 2006 Greenwich was 6% points behind the London average for literacy at age 11.
Greenwich Council make a lot of noise about how education is getting better here, but don't let that blind you from the fact that we're still below average. (I'll put that in bold as it's the important point from all of this)
One final thing, how are the Council treating the teachers they're relying on to improve things? Well I do know that they used to pay them early in December to help them out over the expensive Christmas period, as do many other companies. They're not going to anymore though, they've got to wait until the end of December. I wonder if other Council staff and Councillors have the same treatment...