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School truancy rates on the rise

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Almost 3.9 million days of school were skipped by children during the spring term, official figures have shown.

The rise in truancy numbers compared to the same time last year has been blamed on increasing incidents of parents taking children out of school during term time for unauthorised family holidays.

Statistics show pupils who missed school because of unsanctioned holidays made up 1.5% of overall absences, up from 1.2% for the same term 12 months ago.

An analysis of the statistics suggests that on any one day, almost 68,000 primary and secondary pupils skipped classes without permission through truancy, family holidays, illness and other reasons.

Figures published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families show overall truancy rates rose to 1.1% this year from 1% for the spring term 2008, while more than 17.8 million days were missed due to authorised absence.

There was a 1.1% jump in truancy rates at primary schools for the spring term last year, from 0.56% to 0.67%. And truancy in state secondaries rose to 1.59% from 1.51% last year.

However, authorised absences dropped from 5.25% to 5.08% in the same period.

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