Truancy: Schools set to reintroduce the 'wag man'

Children "bunking off" school better watch themselves when truancy officers return to the streets.

The "wag man", a colloquial term for a truancy officer, is set to return to the streets of Merseyside after being defunct for years.

Council staff and police looking for truanting pupils will be deployed as part of a wider crackdown across Liverpool.

It comes as Merseyside battles some of the highest truancy rates in the whole of the UK.

In Liverpool primary schools, 11.33% of pupils are persistently absent compared with 8.8% nationally, while at secondary school level it is 17.15% compared with 12.3% across the rest of the country.

Liverpool has one of the UK's highest rates of truancy Credit: PA

As part of the "wag man's" reintroduction, patrols will also be instructed to tackle parents who keep their children off school without good reason.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: "A considerable amount of excellent work to support children's attendance at school has been done in Liverpool, but as a city we are still lagging behind other core cities and the national average.

"As a parent and grandparent, I want to see every part of our education system working well for the children, and as mayor of Liverpool I want to make sure they are ready to face the best possible life chances in a city that is full of opportunities.

"We need to build on existing good practice and introduce new measures to help tackle the issues facing Liverpool in relation to unacceptably high absence rates."

According to the city council, a child who is 10 minutes late misses 32 hours a year of lost education, and missing one day a week loses two months a year of education.

Half a day a week missed throughout school life equates to one full year of lost education.