Latest figuresfrom the Department for Education report an overall pupil absence rate of 4.5% with one in 10 of those school children classed as "persistently absent" (ie: a child who misses school for at least 10% of the time.) Secondary schools had a higher rate of persistent absence than primary schools. And overall, unauthorised absence, whether persistent or not, also increased. The BBC investigated the reasons behind the figures, taking to the streets in cities across the country and asking children themselves why they skipped classes. They gave a range of reasons including anxiety, depression, bullying and having little interest in the subjects they are taught. Many said they wanted more support at school and some wished they could go back and "just start all over again".
According to the Department for Education's latest statistics, sickness was the main reason for absence in the autumn 2016 and spring 2017 terms but illness rates remained the same as the previous year at 2.7%. Unauthorised absences, however, rose, including unauthorised family holidays. Whilst you might be tempted to associate high truancy rates with high deprivation indicators based on health, crime, education and income, the actual statistics did not support this link. Bath and North East Somerset a couple of England's wealthiest local authorities had one of the highest levels of truancy in 2015 to 2016 whilst Manchester had one of the lowest. On a brighter note, overall school absences in England declined since the same period a decade earlier, as did the percentage of pupils who were persistently absent. SG World offer a range of solutions which help track and tackle truancy and punctuality, key areas for schools looking for a pro-active approach on poor attendance.