Persistent non-attendance at school has been the subject of considerable concern amongst educationalists for well over a century. In recent years many local education authorities have started to carry out annual attendance surveys and there have been a number of large-scale national surveys. Estimates of the extent of the problem have varied. For instance, a one-day Department of Education and Science national survey in Britain carried out in January 1974 revealed that approximately 10 per cent of all pupils twelve years or older are absent from school with 2 per cent absent without legitimate reasons. Amongst children aged fifteen years on 31 August 1974 absenteeism reached 14 per cent and unjustified absenteeism 5 per cent. However the National Association of Chief Education Welfare Officers (NACEWO, 1975), reporting on their own survey of 27,000 pupils from sixteen local education authorities, note that 24 per cent of secondary pupils are absent with an estimated 3.5–7 per cent absent without a good reason.