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Pupil absence levels fall in Wirral
LATEST statistics show more than 2,000 pupils have been marked as “persistently absent” from Wirral schools.
Compared to two years ago, the number of children missing lessons in the borough is down.
However, of 23 local authority areas in the North West, only five recorded higher absences than Wirral; Blackburn, Manchester, Lancashire, Liverpool and Cumbria.
The Department for Education data, covering autumn term 2012 to spring 2013, shows 1,227 Wirral secondary school pupils were persistently absent; the figure for primary schools was 960, making a total of 2,187.
The overall percentage of classes missed was 5.6%.
A Wirral Council spokesman said:“School attendance has improved and is generally quite good in Wirral, although there have been some periods of increased absences which are attributed mainly to illness.
"This included an outbreak of norovirus which impacted some primary schools, particularly in December 2012 and January 2013.”
Figures for 2010/2011 show there was a combined total of 2,971 absent pupils, or 7.5%.
Education Minister Elizabeth Truss said: “It is vital all children attend as much school as possible.
“That is why we have increased fines for truancy and encouraged schools to tackle persistent absence at an earlier stage.
“We know that poor attendance can have a hugely damaging effect on a child’s education.
“Children who attend school regularly are four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs than those who are persistently absent.”
Nationally, 139,750 fewer children missed 15% or more of school - equivalent to missing one-and-a-half years of a whole school career - compared to two years ago.
In 2011 the Government reduced the definition of “persistent absence” used to hold schools to account from 20% to 15%, “in order to encourage schools to address the problem at an earlier stage.”
in September last year, fines for truancy were increased from £50 to £60, and from £100 to £120 if not paid within 28 days .
And from last month the time limit for paying the penalties was reduced from 42 to 28 days
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