§ Mr. Willis
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what targets his Department has set in relation to reducing truancy in each year up to 2006; and what levels of funding will be made available in each year. 
§ Mr. Ivan Lewis
[holding answer 14 June 2004]: Promoting regular school attendance and reducing levels of absence are key components of the Government's strategy to raise educational standards. The current national Public Service Agreement (PSA) target is to reduce the 2002 level of unauthorised absence by 10 per cent. in this school year; and to sustain the new lower level and improve overall attendance levels thereafter.
To help achieve the current PSA target, the Department set the 56 LEAs facing some of the greatest challenges individual stretching targets to reduce unauthorised absence in 2003/04. these LEAs received extra resources to assist in improving support to schools and pupils with poor attendance and in devising better strategic approaches to attendance management.
In all, the National Behaviour and Attendance Strategy is investing around £120 million in 2004–05 and £155 million in 2005–06 on measures to reduce exclusions or provide education for excluded pupils, to support vulnerable and disaffected pupils back into the classroom, to improve behaviour and to tackle truancy and improve school attendance. As many of the measures schools and LEAs implement will improve both pupils' behaviour and their attendance—and action in respect of one will often have an impact on the other—it is not possible to identify separately the level of expenditure allocated to tackling truancy alone.