South Tyneside scores well on truancy

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SOUTH Tyneside schoolchildren are some of the best in the country when it comes to attending classes.

The borough has once again come out well in the latest UK truancy tables.

A truancy rate of 0.3 per cent among the borough’s 9,140 primary school pupils gives South Tyneside the joint seventh-best record nationally.

And a similar figure of 0.9 per cent for the 8,569 secondary school pupils is the joint eleventh-best record in the UK. Figures for authorised absences from classes are higher.

South Tyneside has 421 primary pupils described as persistent absentees, while at secondary level the number is 808.

Nationally, official figures show growing numbers of pupils are skipping school.

Statistics from the Department for Education reveal that the truancy rate rose to 1.1 per cent in 2010/11, up from one per cent the year before.

It means that about 62,000 youngsters in primary, secondary and special schools missed sessions without permission on a typical day last year through truancy, family holidays, illness and other reasons.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the impact of missing this much time on a pupil’s achievement should not be underestimated.

He added: “The effect that poor attendance at school can have on a child’s education can be permanent and damaging.

“Children who attend school regularly are four times more likely to achieve five or more good GCSEs, including English and maths, than those who are persistently absent.”

Mr Gibb said that Charlie Taylor, the Government’s behaviour tsar, was conducting a review of attendance in schools.