§ Mr. Dismore
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what support is available to schools to reduce the levels of truancy. 
§ Jacqui Smith
Truancy has a damaging impact on the educational and life chances of children. We are determined to tackle it. Over the next three years we are investing at least £500 million in projects tackling truancy and school exclusion and other initiatives to get children back into school and learning. In addition, we are giving schools in Excellence in Cities areas funds to recruit Learning Mentors, who can directly help children at risk of truancy.408W
To enable schools to reduce truancy further it is vital that they have accurate and speedy information to monitor attendance of pupils. Where schools have introduced electronic registration of attendance, independent evaluation has shown that truancy can be reduced by 10 per cent. in the first two years. I am very pleased to announce an additional £11.25 million from April 2002 from the Government's Capital Modernisation Fund to introduce electronic registration systems in schools for recording pupil attendance.
Our aim is to ensure that at least 500 secondary schools with poor attendance levels will be able to benefit from this additional funding. The extra money is an important element in our overall drive to reduce truancy in school and get all our children learning and preparing for adult and working life.