About 3.7 million school days were missed last autumn as pupils skipped lessons without consent.
On a typical day, an estimated 55,600 truants skipped classes, official statistics show. More than 48,000 children missed a month or more of lessons, making them "persistent absentees".
Figures from the Department for Education show that the truancy, or unauthorised absence rate, for state primary and secondary schools in England for autumn term last year was 0.9 per cent, down from 1 per cent in the same period in 2010. In primary schools, the truancy rate was 0.6 per cent; in secondaries it was 1.2 per cent.
In total, pupils missed 19.5 million school days as the overall absence rate fell from 6.1 per cent in autumn 2010 to 4.7 per cent last autumn. Ministers said the fall was because fewer children were off sick, and fewer were removed by their parents to go on holiday during term time.
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