More than 100 pupils get 'specialist intervention' in truancy pilot scheme by Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner

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The trial to reduce school absences ended on March 31

Over 100 young people have received specialist intervention as part of the police and crime commissioner’s (PCC) school absenteeism pilot, a report has said.

The PCC’s trial to reduce school absences ended on Friday (March 31), and Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel heard on Thursday (March 30) that between June 2022 and January 2023, 116 young people received specialist intervention from the Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) Youth Intervention Service (YIS) staff.

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The report said all those who had been referred are engaging with the VERU and feedback from the families “has been positive”.

Beds Police and Crime Commissioner Festus AkinbusoyeBeds Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye
Beds Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye

Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye said: “There have been some really significant findings from this pilot.”

He added that he had given evidence on the pilot to an Education Select Committee, and had written to an Education Secretary.

The pilot included two schools from each of the county’s local authorities, and one alternative provision setting.

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It did not replace the statutory role of the local authorities, but “plugged the gaps” by providing additional support to schools.

A working group, which includes an academic from the University of Bedfordshire, local authorities, school Heads and SEND parent representatives, will be conducting an independent evaluation of the pilot in June.