Truancy reaches record levels


Official figures have revealed that truancy in state primary schools reached record levels last year, with 66,000 pupils missing school sessions due to unauthorised absences in 2009-10 – an increase of almost 5% on 2008-09.

Typical reasons for skipping school sessions without permission included truancy, family holidays, and illness.

While truancy rates in primaries rose again this year, the levels in state secondaries dropped. Unauthorised absences stood at 1.45% in secondaries in 2009-10, compared with 1.49% in 2008/09.

Schools minister, Nick Gibb, said: "We know that children who are absent for substantial parts of their education fall behind their peers and can struggle to catch up.

"Reducing truancy rates is critical to our objective of closing the attainment gap between those from poorer and wealthier backgrounds."

The statistics will raise new concerns that parents are still taking pupils out of school during term time to take advantage of cheap family holiday deals.

Family holidays were the second most commonly reported reason for absence, accounting for around half of days missed. Of these days, one in four were not authorised by the school.

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