It is depressing to learn that Bradford has the highest number of secondary schools of any district on a Government hit-list targeting Britain's most prolific truants. Nine schools, a third of Bradford's total, out of a national figure of 207 on the list does not reflect at all well on this district. In fact it is an appalling record.

Truancy causes a whole range of problems. Youngsters staying off school can be drawn towards crime and drugs. At the very least, they miss out on their education and fail to fulfil their potential - something they may greatly regret later in life and find very difficult to put right.

According to Education Bradford, steps have been taken to address this situation since the Fast Track to Attendance scheme was launched last September by Schools Minister Jacqui Smith with the aim of impressing on parents their responsibility for making sure their children attend school regularly.

The Council and Education Bradford are working hard to tackle unauthorised absences with fixed penalties, prosecutions and Truancy Patrols. They are trying to impress on families that holidays during term time are not acceptable and even that late registration can result in a half day's absence being recorded.

And now they have introduced a range of measures involving working with individual students and supporting them with an action plan to tackle the causes of their truancy.

Let us hope that these tactics soon start to work and enable Bradford to escape from the top spot on this list of shame.