Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Primary Pupils Are Missing Schooling; Truancy Figures Still Too High

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Primary Pupils Are Missing Schooling; Truancy Figures Still Too High

Article excerpt

Byline: Joanne Butcher

MORE primary school pupils in the North East are skipping lessons without permission, new figures show.

According to Department for Education figures, the percentage of unauthorised half-days missed by primary-age children in the North East has increased from 0.41% last year to 0.5% this year.

That means children across the region are missing out on hundreds of hours of vital learning.

The statistics, which relate to the Autumn term of 2009 and Spring of this year, show that all but one authority in the North East had a higher percentage of unauthorised absences among primary school children this year, compared to Autumn 2008 and Spring 2009.

Only South Tyneside saw a drop, from 0.34% of half days, to 0.25%.

But the figures are not all bad news.

The percentage of primary school absences with permission fell across the North East, bringing the total percentage of time missed by primary pupils down to 5.33%.

Secondary schools also saw a drop in absences, both authorised and unauthorised.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "The small fall in the overall absence rate in all schools, and in unauthorised absence in secondary schools is very welcome, but the level of absenteeism in schools is still too high. It is crucial that children are not missing out on valuable lessons that could leave them vulnerable to falling behind.

"The Government is committed to tackling the underlying causes of absenteeism, raising academic standards and ensuring every child can meet their potential, regardless of their background."

Across the region, the local authority with the highest number of absentees was Newcastle.

A total of 7.14% of half-days were missed by Newcastle pupils in primary and state-funded secondary schools (not including academies and city technology colleges), compared to a national average of 6.04%..

Lowest in the region was North Tyneside, with a total of 5. …

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