Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

School Absenteeism Rife; Secondaries in City among Truancy Worst

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

School Absenteeism Rife; Secondaries in City among Truancy Worst

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Kelly? 0191 201 6201 ? mike.kelly@ncjmedia.co.uk

SCHOOLS in our region have worrying numbers of pupils who miss lessons, a report has revealed.

Secondary school pupils in Newcastle have the second worst record in the country for persistent absenteeism, according to research by the Department for Education.

Its figures detailed how 338 city pupils have missed 46 half-day sessions or more, which is classed as persistent absenteeism. The number represents 2.6% of all pupils aged 11 to 18 in the city not attending class for at least 15% (46 days) of the school year.

In the same age group Newcastle has the joint third worst percentage of children missing between 22 and 45 half-day sessions - a total of 1,519, or 11.7% of all pupils. They are described as at risk of becoming persistent absentees.

A Newcastle City Council spokesman said: "School attendance in Newcastle has shown significant signs of improvement over the last three years against national figures, so we know that we are heading in the right direction, but until every child and young person is attending school as they should, we will always want to do more.

"We will continue to work closely with schools and both support and challenge parents and families to make sure their children are at school. We have some significant recent success through the Newcastle Families programme, which plays a significant part in focusing on the issue of absenteeism as a key priority."

The DfE figures for the autumn 2012 term included both primary and secondary schools, broken down into percentages for overall absence, percentages for unauthorised absence as well as the number of days lost per pupil, including those for illness and unauthorised holidays.

In primary schools, Herdley Bank First School, near Haltwhistle in Northumberland, has the joint 13th highest level in England of pupils who are potentially persistent absentees, missing between 22 and 45-half day sessions, at 27. …

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