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?

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  • 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 ......

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Re M93, Indeed, I ceased to contribute to this board some months ago for that reason, I have had dialog with BBC audience services and news & current affairs regarding the flagrant and repeated abuse of the board and reading this blogs comments show nothing much has changed, I suspect the comments will all be suspened soon, remember the "About Wales" board ? Bye...

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    #89 Alf, if you are right, and you may well be, and there are no official figures for truancy collected to an agreed standard, then this whole post has been a bit of a storm in a teacup because we don't actually know that the Welsh figures are worse.
    I already knew that there was no comparability on exam results, thanks to the drive to the bottom of comparative Boards.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    I'm afraid that this blog has descended into farce. The poster Mabion Glyndwr clearly has no idea of how to behave in decent company. Virtually every posting made by this person is deleted for failing to adhere to house rules. Having read some, prior to deletion, it's easy to understand why. This person seems to thrive on issuing a stream of personal insults to those who disagree. How uncouth!

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    #86 You must admit that it was rather amusing that you got one of your posts moderated off for using a 4-letter word in good-old pure Anglo-Saxon (not the F-word)
    #85 I think you are a little harsh. There would be a case for calling Wales bilingual if even 20% of people were fluent in Welsh. But, could they read a menu and order a meal, make a speech at a wedding, talk to their GP?

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    Boxer. It would depend on each area as to how many days you are allowed off before you become an official truant. Though if you make schools somewhere that children want to go to, it would make a difference. How would you like to be forced to go somewhere you hate, every day? Look at underlying problems. Bullying, Child Carers, No interest. No one asks the question why it is happening.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.

    Presumably there is a higher disregard for education in Wales than in England. Yet it was the Welsh mining communities that worked so hard to be able to send their kids to decent schools so that educated, they could get out of the valleys and find a better life. Are there now so many uncaring parents? Education has never been more important as the unskilled have no future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    #85 As I may have said before, WAG may say that Wrexham FC has equal status with Barcelona, but it ain't necessarily so. So with 'Equal Status' for Welsh.

    BTW Does anyone keep track? Is Mab up to a personal best on his yellow cards on this post? It's difficult to have a rational argument with someone whose comments vanish as you attempt to reply.

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    @ message 81 (if it's not been deleted for personal abuse and veiled threats of violence):

    Wales will be bilingual the day that the majority of the population can speak Welsh fluently as well as English. The WAG making Wales legally bilingual is not the same as being legitimately bilingual.

    p.s. I'd love to be a fly on the wall watching you foam at the mouth whilst typing :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Despairing of getting my distinguished opponent to even undestand what I wrote..
    Going back to BP and truancy. Does anyone have the relevant truency rates for say Aber & hinterland vs Monmouth & surrounding; also Newport vs say South Shields.
    Are Welsh truancy rates higher.?? Also, how do NEETs compare?

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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