62,000 children skip school every day – but are they sick or bunking off?

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The Independent Online

Rising numbers of pupils are skipping school without permission, official figures show.

Statistics published by the Department for Education reveal that the truancy rate rose to 1.1 per cent in 2010-11, up from 1 per cent the year before.

That means that about 62,000 youngsters in primary, secondary and special schools missed sessions without permission on a typical day last year, through truancy, family holidays, illness and other reasons, an analysis of the data suggests.

The figures show that primary-age pupils missed 0.7 per cent of sessions due to "unauthorised absence" in the 2010-11 school year, the same as the year before. Secondary school students missed 1.4 per cent of half days, also the same as 2009-10.

The statistics also show that nearly 400,000 youngsters were considered to be "persistently absent" last year because they missed at least a month of schooling.