Rrrrrip! There goes another one!


"This" said my mother "is where the whipper-in used to live".

This was Saturday and a family walk in the footsteps of my mother and her brother and sisters, from the farm where they lived, along the 'cwm' to school in Llanddeiniol. My children looked blank. There was no cottage, just a few stones amongst the long grass and anyway, what on earth was this "whipper-in" mamgu was talking about?

The man's little black book noted why the local children weren't at school. Most were needed to help on the farm, had no shoes, couldn't be spared at busy times of year. If you listened to Simon Warr, a teacher at an independent school in Suffolk on Radio Wales this morning, then you'd add "parents took pot and couldn't be bothered to get up" to the list in 2012. I'm sure he'd accept that in between, there are any number of reasons why parents, or their children, "don't see the value of school" as he put it.

In future, just as in England, those parents will be fined. Leighton Andrews, the whipper-in-in-chief of 2012 - is tackling persistent truancy and is doing it by bringing in fines.

Tony Blair's government took the same route in England back in 2004. Back then the Welsh Education Minister was Jane Davidson and fining parents of truants was the wrong way to go: "it does not fit in with the Assembly Government's inclusion policies in Wales" as she put it at the time, "prosecution should be used very much as a last resort".

The logic of her position was that the fines could end up falling hardest on some of the parents least able to pay, which would be regressive and contrary to her government's aims.

Fast forward to 2012 and what's changed? Nothing - except that truancy rates in Wales remain stubbornly higher than England and the latest incumbent in Ms Davidson's job is adopting a "zero tolerance" approach to the issue of absenteeism. Although Leighton Andrews has been highly critical of the impact of the UK Government's welfare cutbacks on the poorest in Welsh society, it seems he has the stomach to implement a policy that his predecessors baulked at.

He's already torn up quite a list of policies put in place by successive Labour education ministers. Listen! Rip! There goes another one.

What's he planning to tear up next?

Betsan Powys Article written by Betsan Powys Betsan Powys Former political editor, Wales

A big day for health in Wales

A day of big health stories in Wales is capped with a potentially very significant announcement.

Read full article


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    On the subject of 'mitching'. 3 of us pupils (Canton High) decided to 'bunk off' and sample the shops/fleshpots of Cowbridge Road.

    We stole a pineapple !

    Though not knowing what to do with it, (and overcome with guilt) we returned it.

    Within a year Canton High was closed and moved to a pineapple free zone (Fairwater).

    I still suspect that our great pineapple robbery was to blame !

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Let us try again:

    All those in favour of a three strikes rule, say 'aye'.
    To be explicit, we believe that after three removals by the moderators for failing to follow the rules, all posts by that individual should be removed from the thread, and all further posts to that thread blocked.
    If you agree, please hit the appropriate rating arrow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.


    With reference to the poster MabionGlyndwr, this rather rude person has had, to date, SEVENTEEN commments removed, just on this thread.

    How can you ignore this?

    Your continued facilitation of this disgraceful behaviour does YOU no credit whatsoever and clearly shows favouritism for this particular poster's activities.

    Some of us are heartily sick of it. Enough is enough

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    Lets face it Leighton Andrews is a strange little man. Although a minister he is more suited to being a stationary supply clerk in an RCT council back office.

    HIs latest "fine the chavs" idea, like all his others, is doomed to failure.

    With nothing better to do, our Leighton (always keen to appear industrious) will soon quietly disown his daft "fine the b*gg*rs" policy.

    You just watch !

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Banal ......


Comments 5 of 100



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.