Schools minister Nick Gibb has exclaimed alarm at the number of school pupils who are persistently missing time at school following the publication of new figures showing nearly 400,000 were absent for at least a month last year.
The data from the 2010-2011 academic year also reveals that children from disadvantaged backgrounds – determined as those on free school meals – along with those who have special educational needs, are three times as likely to have attendance problems.
Mr Gibb said he is worried that those who miss out at school will miss out as adults, with the majority of work never caught up when children return.
"The effect that poor attendance at school can have on a child’s education can be permanent and damaging," he said.
The statistics also demonstrate the link between attendance and exams success, with just three per cent of those who missed more than 50 per cent of school achieving five good GCSEs.
Of those missing between ten and 20 per cent of school, 35 per cent achieved five A* to C grades at GCSE, including mathematics and English.
Posted by Harriet McGowan