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The Truancy service isn't quite what we might imagine, according to Christchurch Truancy Officer Pat Hay (right).

Debriefing back at the Spreydon office at the end of another busy day, pay Hays says officers no longer prowl the streets looking for stray truants to catch and bundle into the car and back to school. Now the service acts entirely on referrals from school Deans, and calls from distraught parents. It's all about getting on the case and following through with each young person needing to be reminded why it is important and fun to go to school.

'There's always a story behind each one' says Truancy officer Lynda MacDonald (above left), as Spectrum joins her for the best part of a school day, visiting truants and parents in and around the Eastern suburbs of Christchurch.