Truancy worst in Manchester

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Children in Manchester are missing more lessons than anywhere else in the country, according to new government figures.

The figures show the city's secondary schools had the worst attendance out of 150 English local authorities, with more than 10 per cent of lessons being missed.

Government figures reveal more than two million hours were being missed in Manchester schools. Most of the absences were due to sickness, term-time holidays and family problems which accounted for more than six per cent of lessons missed. The rest was through truancy, which accounted for 4pc - the worst truancy rate in the country except for Hull.

Manchester has had some of the country's worst attendance figures for several years. Education officials have undertaken a series of measures to keep children in the classroom, including truancy patrols and fines for parents.

However, overall attendance has improved slightly - with this year's absence rate at 10.3%, compared to 10.5% of time last year.

The figures, which are taken from a census of every school in the country, also showed that 2,570 (11%) of Manchester's 23,130 secondary pupils were classed as persistently absent, missing more than a fifth of all lessons last year.

Figures for primary school attendance were also poor. Manchester's primary schools had the sixth worst overall attendance in the country. The worst primary schools were in Nottingham.

A total of 6.5% of time was lost because of absence and 1,250 out of 31,420 primary pupils were classed as persistent absentees.

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