BUNKING OFF: Number of Lancashire pupils missing class is falling

The number of Lancashire pupils bunking off or taking time out of school during term time is falling.
FIGURES: The number of pupils bunking off in Lancashire has fallenFIGURES: The number of pupils bunking off in Lancashire has fallen
FIGURES: The number of pupils bunking off in Lancashire has fallen

Latest figures for the academic year 2013-14 show that unauthorised attendance at both primary and secondary schools fell by more than the national average.

Official data for the county’s primary schools reveal that overall and persistent absence in Lancashire fell by nearly one per cent on the previous year to 3.4 per cent.

This is nearly 1.5 per cent less than in 2010-11

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The national figure for the same period stands at 3.8 per cent compared to 4.7 per cent over the same five terms in 2012-13, which is only 0.3 per cent less than 2010-11.

Secondary school truancy, or unauthorised absence, has fallen from 5.3 per cent in 2012-13 to 4.7 per cent last year.

However, some areas, including Lancaster and Morecambe (5.3 per cent) are higher than the national figure of 5.1 per cent.

The district also had the highest truancy rate in the primary sector.

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Unauthorised absence in Preston’s high schools has fallen by nearly one per cent on the previous year and lowest absence rates are in Chorley and South Ribble , which both recorded 4.7 per cent last year.

Overall absence rates for four year olds was collected for the first time in 2012 and the latest statistics reveal that across Lancashire 4.4 per cent of new starters were absent from school last year, compared to 5.3 per cent the year before.

These figures are lower than the national.

County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “School attendance is given high priority in Lancashire schools – rightly so, as every day counts in pupils’ education – and these excellent figures show that strong performance is being maintained.”

He added that “attendance consultants” work with schools on strategies to maximise attendance, and in those cases where absenteeism ( more than 25 per cent of school sessions)is identified, they work with pupils and families to with them to look at why there is a problem and what can be done.

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“What I know from my experience as cabinet member is that we have fantastic schools in the county, 86% of which are rated good or outstanding, and the majority of children enjoy their lessons and other activities which contributes towards good attendance.”