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Persistent absences fall to new lows

27/03/2015 Joanna
Fewer pupils than ever before are persistently missing school, according to new figures published by the Department for Education.

The statistics show the number of pupils regularly missing school in 2013-14, classed as persistent absentees, has fallen by nearly 200,000 over the last five years.

This is a 46 per cent decline since 2009-10, with the number of persistent absentees falling every subsequent year.

According to recently published research, even short gaps in a child's school attendance can reduce their chances of achieving good qualifications by as much as a quarter.

Almost half of pupils with no absence at key stage 4 achieve the English Baccalaureate, which includes English, maths, science, history or geography and a language.

However, only 31.7 per cent of pupils who miss 14 days of classes over their two-year GCSE courses achieve the same level, with the figure falling to 16.4 per cent for those who miss up to 28 days.

The coalition has given teachers more powers to tackle absenteeism as part of its plan for education.

School reform minister Nick Gibb said: "Every single lost day counts - which is why as part of our plan for education we have put teachers back in charge so they can clamp down on classroom absence.

"Fewer school days are being lost than ever before thanks to our reforms - giving children the best possible chance to succeed."

Overall absence rates fell in every local authority, with Blackpool witnessing the biggest decline - a 42 per cent year-on-year fall. Some 4.3 per cent of pupils regularly miss school in the area.

Pupils are classified as persistently absent if they miss around 15 per cent of school, equating to around 18 months of lesson time over their whole school career.

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801781554-ADNFCR
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