Truancy decline

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THE number of absentees in schools across Wigan has dropped according to the latest figures.

A report released by the Department for Education has revealed that the amount of pupil absences at schools across the borough last year are down on the previous year and below the North West average.

In 2010/11 5.5 per cent of half days were missed due to absence by pupils at schools in Wigan.

This was down from 6.6 per cent on the previous year.

The North West average was 5.8 per cent and the national average was also 5.8 per cent.

Of the 40,095 school pupils in the borough, 1.1 per cent of all half days missed due to pupil absence were unauthorised, with the other 4.4 per cent authorised.

The report also revealed that some 2,225 pupils in Wigan Borough (5.5 per cent of the school population) are deemed to be persistent truants.

Secondary schools saw more half day absences (6.1 per cent) than primary schools (4.8 per cent) in the borough.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb welcomed the downward trend in absence but said he was very concerned about children who persistently missed school.

“A hard core of almost 400,000 pupils still missed at least a month off school. We should not underestimate the impact of this on their future prospects,” he said.

“The effect that poor attendance at school can have on a child’s education can be permanent and damaging.

“Children who attend school regularly are four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs, including English and maths, than those who are persistently absent.”

The Government say that across England more parents are being fined because their children are failing to attend school.

In total, 32,641 penalty notices were issued in 2010-11, up from 25,657 the year before. Of these, 7,902 went unpaid.