Doncaster schools has one of the highest level of absences

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Doncaster has among the highest rates of school absence in Yorkshire, according the latest figures.

The borough was joint top of the table for the highest rates for missed sessions at secondary level, at 2.3 per cent, according to figures released by the Government.

Cllr Eric Tatton-Kelly cabinet member for Childrens Services with Frenchgate Centre Customer Services Andrew Middlebrook and PC Emma Bloodworth as they start a truancy watch in Doncaster town centre

Cllr Eric Tatton-Kelly cabinet member for Childrens Services with Frenchgate Centre Customer Services Andrew Middlebrook and PC Emma Bloodworth as they start a truancy watch in Doncaster town centre

New figures from the Department for Education show a rise year on year in 
the number of children missing school across the country.

Term time holidays are thought to be among the causes of absence.

“Missing school has a direct impact on children’s education and life chances,” said Ian Stevenson, regional TUC secretary for the Yorkshire and Midlands region. “Clearly, the impact of these children missing school will be at the detriment of their education.

“I don’t think it’s that parents don’t want their children to go to school. It’s that we have parents who are struggling – with employment, with healthcare, 
and to meet their children’s needs.”

The figures, recording absences in schools in England in the Autumn term, show that 19.6m days were lost natinoally with each child missing on average three days a term.

And, the figures showed, five per cent of pupils missed at least one session due to unauthorised holiday, a small but significant rise on the previous year.

“Term-time holidays will be a factor,” said Mr Stevenson. “For families on a low income who want to go on holiday, they simply can’t afford the prices that holiday companies use to exploit demand at peak times.”

The Department for Education has maintained its stance against term-time holidays, saying no child should be taken out of school without good reason.

“The evidence shows every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances,” a spokesman said after the Supreme Court ruling against Isle of White father Jon Platt.

The highest rates in Yorkshire for pupils aged five to 15 for unauthorised absence were in Doncaster, Sheffield, Rotherham and Bradford, at 1.7 per cent. Sheffield and Doncaster also had the highest rates for missed sessions at secondary level, at 2.3 per cent, while Doncaster had the highest rate of children missing school altogether, although the majority of these were permitted.

Damian Allen, director of people for Doncaster Council, said: “There has been a rise nationally in absence indicators for schools. It is disappointing to see this reflected in schools across the borough. We are offering advice and support to all schools to ensure they are making appropriate challenge to parents and carers.

“Our recent announcement as a Social Mobility Opportunity Area will provide us with the resources to further target improvement in this critical area of school life. Regular school attendance is very important for every child and we will continue to promote the importance of this to all parents and carers.”

In the past, Doncaster has run truancy patrols in the town centre to find youngsters who should have been in lessons.