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More than 2,000 Havering children regularly missed school last year, government statistics reveal

PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:51 28 March 2018

Children were persistenty absent from schools in Havering during 2016/17, according to government statistics. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/David Davies

Children were persistenty absent from schools in Havering during 2016/17, according to government statistics. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images/David Davies

PA Wire/PA Images/David Davies

Thousands of children in the borough were persistently absent from attending secondary schools last year, according to the latest government figures.

More than 2,000 pupils were missing at least 19 days of teaching, statistics from the Department for Education has now revealed.

The numbers show that 14pc of state secondary schools in Havering missed at least 10pc of school in the 2016/17 academic year.

In total, Havering’s secondary schools lost 156,000 days of teaching.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “Children only get one chance at an education and evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chances of achieving good GCSEs.

“The rules on term-time absences are clear and we have put schools back in control by supporting them - and local authorities - to use their powers to deal with unauthorised absence.”

School officials authorised 75pc of the time that pupils were absent from secondary schools, most commonly for illness or medical appointments.

The remainder was unauthorised, and also includes periods of truancy and unauthorised family holidays.

In Havering’s primary schools, 1,757 children - 9pc of all pupils - were regularly absent in 2016/17.

Nationally, the highest levels of persistently absent pupils in England were found in Knowsley, Merseyside, where 23pc of state secondary pupils missed 10pc of their classes.

Local authorities can also impose fines to parents who fail to ensure that their children are attending school regularly.

A council spokeswoman said: “The council aims to ensure that children in the borough have a good attendance of above 95pc.

“We ask all parents to ensure their child is in school each day, so that they are learning, socialising and building positive work habits for now and later in life.

“There is a £60 fine per child per parent for unauthorised absence, and this rises to £120 if you don’t pay within 21 days.

“The council utilises income from fines to promote better attendance directly targeting parents and we also work with specific schools.”


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