More than 1,000 children missing from school every day due to truancy and holidays
PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 April 2019
Hundreds of pupils were missing from North Somerset’s schools every day last year.
In total, around 1,300 pupils were missing from primary and secondary school on the average day in 2017-18, according to figures from the Department for Education.
North Somerset’s state secondary school pupils missed 5.5 per cent of their lesson time last year.
Of those absences, more than 20 per cent were unauthorised, which includes truancy and time off for family holidays where permission has not been granted by the headteacher.
Absence rates remained the same in secondary schools compared to 2016-17, when 5.4 per cent of sessions were missed.
However, 13 per cent of the 11,120 pupils enrolled in secondary schools were classed as persistently absent, meaning they missed 10 per cent of their total learning time.
Primary pupils missed 4.2 per cent of their lesson time – the same as last year – with more than 20 per cent of absences unauthorised.
The number of fines given to their parents for their children’s absence increased by 14 per cent last year - with 980 penalty notices issued in 2017-18, compared to 862 in 2016/2017.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “The education secretary has made clear, persistent absence from school is a society-wide challenge that we all need to work together to resolve – and while significant progress has been made, today’s data shows that has now plateaued.
”High quality education and pastoral care will make a real difference to children’s life chances, and that’s particularly important for those who are most vulnerable, but clearly key initiatives will only work if children are present.
”That’s why the rules on term-time absences are clear: no child should be taken out of school without good reason.
“We have put head teachers back in control by supporting them – and local authorities – to use their powers to deal with unauthorised absence.”
Nationally, the number of fines issued increased by 75 per cent to more than 260,000 in 2017-18 – 85 per cent of them for unauthorised family holidays.
The percentage of time absent from state primary and secondary schools also increased slightly, from 4.6 per cent to 4.7 per cent.