'23,000 primary school pupils skip school'
Thursday 30 August 2012
Thousands of primary school pupils missed lessons without permission each day of the spring term this year, official figures show.
The Department for Education says 0.7% of school sessions were missed by primary age children, up from 0.6% for the same term in 2011 due to "unauthorised absence".
Overall, almost 23,400 youngsters in England's primary schools skipped classes on a typical day during the spring term this year through truancy, family holidays, illness and other reasons, an analysis of the figures suggests.
Across all state primary and secondary schools, 1% of half-days during the spring term were missed due to unauthorised absence, the same as in 2011. This is equivalent to around 61,600 youngsters missing classes without permission on a typical day.
In state secondary schools, the unauthorised absence rate is static, with 1.4% of half-days missed, equivalent to almost 39,500 pupils skipping lessons on a typical day.
The most common reason for absence is illness, followed by family holidays.
Illness accounts for 63% of all absences, with family holidays accounting for 7%.
The Government is "determined to tackle absence before it causes long-term disadvantage", Schools Minister Nick Gibb said.
"Poor attendance at school can have a hugely damaging effect on a child's education. Children who attend school regularly are four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs, including English and Maths, than those who are persistently absent."
The Government is toughening the rules on absence to make it clear that schools should only give permission for term-time holidays in exceptional circumstances, Mr Gibb said.
Ofsted is also now setting specific targets for boosting attendance in schools which have problems with absence.
From this September headteachers will be able to issue a £60 fine, up from a previous maximum of £50, if they believe a parent is allowing their child to miss too much school without a valid reason.
If the parent or carer fails to pay within 28 days, the fine will double to £120, to be paid within 42 days.
The overall absence rate, both authorised and unauthorised combined, for the spring term is 5.3%, down from 5.4% for the same time last year.
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Glasgow 'riots': 'Dishonest' social media users accused of fuelling panic with pictures from London riots
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We urgently require an experienc...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Primary teachers requ...