A Norwich academy has been singled out by the shadow education secretary as an example of how schools can tackle the problem of truancy.

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It came as the government’s behaviour tsar Charlie Taylor recommended taking fines from parents’ child benefits if they did not ensure their youngsters attended lessons.

But Stephen Twigg, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said he would prefer to see efforts made to prevent truancy early on rather than penalise parents once the problem becomes persistent.

He said the government could learn from City Academy Norwich, in Earlham.

Mr Twigg said: “It is right to fine parents of persistent truants. However, it is even more important to ensure that truancy is prevented or tackled early. Schools need to be places children want to attend with engaging teaching and a relevant curriculum. The government is also cutting back on education welfare officers who can identify truancy early.

“We need to look at the schools who have addressed this such as Barlow Hall Primary in Manchester and secondaries like the City Academy Norwich and see how we can learn from their success.”

In its previous life as Earlham High School, City Academy had an attendance rate of just 81pc with persistent attendance at less than 80pc.

Attendance is now at 93pc.

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