Misspent youth: The costs of truancy and exclusion

Children who play truant and are excluded from school waste huge amounts of taxpayers’ money, as well as wasting their own potential. Over 10,000 new exclusions from school happen each year, and there are nearly 200,000 persistent truants in the UK.

NPC’s report, Misspent youth, calculates the cost of truancy and exclusion, and compares this with charities’ proven efforts to keep children in the classroom. The potential returns are high.

Did you know?

  • Failure to tackle truancy is costing the UK economy £800m each year
  • If all truants had access to charities like The Learning Challenge, which runs intensive classes for truants, enough money would be saved to pay for an extra teacher in every UK secondary school.

The report highlights for donors the benefits of charities that are preventing truancy and exclusion in schools, showing that:

  • the total cost of exclusions could be cut by a quarter or more, if projects run by charities like School-Home Support were available right across the UK
  • every £1 spent by The Learning Challenge, a small charity based in the North East of England, produces £11.60 in savings. The charity has a proven record in increasing school attendance.

If a child truants or becomes excluded not only will they get worse grades at school and earn less, but they are also up to twice as likely to commit crime and will probably have poorer health as adults.

Lucy Heady, report author