SCHOOLS have drafted in staff to turn up on the doorsteps of parents who fail to send their children to lessons.
Pupils who are absent without reason will face visits from so-called attendance ambassadors from next month.
The tactic to cut the levels of children who miss school regularly is the brainwave of the Canvey Schools Partnership. A total of 14 schools on the island are understood to have signed up the scheme.
Concerns have been raised over breaches of privacy and possible confrontation between school staff and parents.
Details of the crackdown were released by William Read Primary School, in Long Road, Canvey, in a letter to parents.
The letter reads: “After Easter, the Canvey Schools Partnership will be sending Attendance Ambassadors to the homes of any children whose parents have not notified us of a reason for their absence or who have been absent for several days.
“Following this visit you will receive a warning card and be asked for reasons why your child is not at school and you will be encouraged to send them in at the earliest convenience.
“This is something that is being done across all the Canvey schools to improve attendance together.”
The Echo contacted the Canvey Schools Partnership but received no reply before going to print.
Amy Spicer, 21, who lives in Sanders Road, Canvey, claims the attendance ambassadors are already operating at some schools.
She alleges Winter Gardens Primary, in Link Road, sent staff to knock on her door two days after her child was absent - despite her informing the school her child was poorly.
She said: “Neighbours told me they were banging on the window and looking through the letter box.
“I’m only a young mum. I was shocked.
“I have complained but haven’t heard back. It did feel like an invasion of privacy.”
The school was approached for comment.
Miss Spicer added: “I guess in a way it could be a good thing, like if the school is checking up to see if a family is ok in case of carbon monoxide poisoning or something similar. But it does feel embarrassing.”
The Canvey Schools Partnership is made up of all schools on the island.