Shops refuse to serve pupils as part of truancy crackdown

The spruced up old section of the Frenchgate Centre.
The spruced up old section of the Frenchgate Centre.

SHOPS in Doncaster’s Frenchgate Centre are refusing to serve children during lesson times as part of a new truancy crackdown.

To mark the agreement Doncaster Council staged a truancy sweep in the town centre frog-marching ten pupils back to school. Shopping for school trousers and celebrating a birthday were among the excuses given by the parents of children stopped.

The truancy watch scheme will see outlets in the Frenchgate Shopping Centre not serve school-age children between 9am and 3pm during term-time.

Frenchgate Centre manager Amanda Phillips said: “The main thing is to ensure that the children of Doncaster are safe and receiving the right level of education, which can only happen if they attend school.”

Nicola Faulkiner, manager of the Xtras shop, is only too pleased to support the scheme, saying: “I think it’s really good, and we’re also hoping it will reduce the amount of shoplifting we suffer from.”

The truancy watch scheme has been launched as a partnership project between Doncaster Council, the Frenchgate Shopping Centre, South Yorkshire Police, and the transport interchange

Coun Eric Tatton-Kelly, Doncaster Council’s cabinet member for the children, said: “Good attendance at school is vital to give young people the best start in life and we will do everything we can to encourage young people to attend, and to tackle the issues when they don’t.”

Shops supporting the scheme will display a window sticker. Frenchgate security and transport interchange staff are also aware of the scheme and will challenge young people they believe should be in school.