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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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Cumbria's pupils miss fewer school days but truancy levels rising

Absences among schoolchildren in Cumbria are dropping – but truancy rates have risen.

The total unauthorised absences among the 54.245 primary and secondary school pupils in the county was 0.6 per cent, according to latest Government figures.

The figures for the autumn term in 2013 were marginally higher than the 0.5 per cent recorded in the same period in Cumbria in 2012 and 2011.

But they were lower than the national average of 0.9 per cent.

The amount of authorised absences in Cumbria’s primary and secondary schools last autumn dropped to 3.3 per cent compared to 4.2 per cent in 2012 and four per cent in 2011.

However, the county’s figures are fractionally higher than those for the rest of the country.

Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 of the 30,114 primary school pupils in Cumbria missed 11 or more days during the last autumn term and 65 missed 23 or more days.

More than 1,500 of the 24,132 children in secondary schools throughout the county were off for 11 or more days and 356 missed 23 or more days, the statistics show.

Cumbria County Council says it is pleased absences are falling as it sends out a strong warning about truancy.

A spokesman said: “It’s good to see the downward trend in school absence is continuing and these figures are testament to some of the work we do with schools and families to address attendance issues and stress the negative impact missing school can have on a child’s education.

“Research has shown time and again that children attending school regularly are more likely to gain better qualifications, have access to a wider range of opportunities, stay away from crime and anti-social behaviour and better develop friendships and important life skills.

“While we always look to resolve attendance issues through having discussions and offering support, parents need to be aware that we will pursue prosecution as a last resort when other methods for improving attendance fail.

“This sends out a strong message to parents, and children, about the consequences of truancy.”

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