Sheffield primary schools are bottom of the class for attendance, new figures reveal.
Truancy rates among primary school pupils in the city are the worst in the whole of Yorkshire and the Humber.
Department for Education figures show 1.3 per cent of school days at primaries in Sheffield were missed due to unauthorised absence during the autumn term last year and spring term this year.
In total, 5.3 per cent of Sheffield primary school days were missed due to truancy and authorised absence – above the Yorkshire and the Humber average of 4.8 per cent.
The statistics show two per cent of school days at secondary schools in Sheffield were missed because of unauthorised absence.
In total, 6.5 per cent of school days were missed due to truancy and authorised absence in secondary schools – a rise on last year’s figure of 5.8 per cent.
The figures means 1,046 pupils are classed as persistent absentees in primary schools and 1,681 in secondary schools.
Rotherham and Barnsley have the highest level of primary school absence in Yorkshire and the Humber at 5.4 per cent.
In Barnsley the secondary school figures is also the region’s highest at 7.6 per cent, while in Rotherham it is 6.5 per cent.
A Sheffield Council spokesman said: “Improving school attendance and helping every child and young person in the city achieve their full potential is one of our key priorities.
“Good school attendance has a massive impact on educational achievements and the longer they are away from the classroom the harder it may be for them to fit back into school life and to form friendships.
“Authorised absence in Sheffield primary schools is in the top quartile nationally with an improvement for 49 places from the previous year.
“Persistent absence in our secondary schools has improved and we have risen by 14 places in the overall ranking, the gap with all comparator groups has been roughly halved with Sheffield outperforming core cities in this measure
“We will continue to support those primary schools who are having specific problems with unauthorised absence.
“This involves direct support from attendance and inclusion officers who will help them implement strategies to address poor attendance within their school and raise awareness with families about the negative impact.”
In Derbyshire, 4.6 school days were missed in primaries and 5.9 per cent in secondaries – below the East Midlands average.
Ian Johnson, Derbyshire County Council’s strategic director of children’s services, said: “Improving attendance is a high priority for us and we are working closely with schools and our colleagues in health to ensure as many children as possible are in school and learning.”
Nationally,figures show the number of pupils classed as persistent absentees is down nearly 200,000 in 2013 to 2014 over the last five years.
School reform minister Nick Gibb said: “We know that missing school can be hugely detrimental to a pupil’s life chances – but we now have around 200,000 fewer young people regularly missing lessons than five years ago.
“Every single lost day counts – which is why as part of our plan for education we have put teachers back in charge so they can clamp down on classroom absence.”
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