Norfolk

Reduction in absent pupil numbers in Norfolk

The number of children persistently absent from Norfolk schools has fallen, according to council figures.

The number of pupils consistently absent from the county's secondary schools in 2009 has dropped by 2.3% from 8.6% to 6.3%, compared to 2008.

Persistent absence in primary schools fell by 1%, from 3.9% to 2.9%.

Alison Thomas, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for children's services, said it was "encouraging" that progress was being made.

Overall absence fell from 5.39% to 5.28% in primary schools and from 7.66% to 7.18% in secondary schools.

The government defines persistent absence as missing at least a fifth of the available school sessions for any reason, including truancy.

The county council said it had helped to reduce the number of absent pupils by providing support for parents, conducting truancy sweeps with police and doing spot checks of attendance.

The council has also been involved in 250 prosecutions relating to non-attendance since September 2009.

Ms Thomas said: "It is encouraging to see that we are making progress and that levels of attendance are moving in the right direction.

"However, absence remains too high in some areas of the county and we must continue in our efforts to ensure levels of attendance continue to improve."

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