Fewer pupils play truant – but figures are still 'worrying'
HUNDREDS more city schoolchildren are attending classes regularly, according to Government figures.
In 2011-12 there were 400 fewer children enrolled than the previous year – but 745 fewer were persistently absent.
This means the percentage who missed 15 per cent of more of lessons – the benchmark for being classed as persistently absent – fell from 9.7 to 7.3.
However 2,405 children were still persistently absent and the city was worse than most other areas.
Meanwhile in the county the number of persistent absentees fell from 5.7 per cent to 4.9 per cent.
Nationally, 5.2 per cent were persistently absent.
Councillor David Mellen, city council portfolio holder for children's services, said he was encouraged by the fall.
He said: "Our schools are all working hard to make sure children are in school.
"Many have a dedicated member of staff to monitor absence rates and chase up those not in school.
"It is also down to parents – they are the ones who are responsible for getting children up and into school."
Mr Mellen added: "We want to carry on this improvement.
"The rest of the country has improved and our figures still don't compare brilliantly, but we are closing the gap."
There was a greater proportion of persistent absentees in secondary schools than primaries – in the city 10.6 per cent of secondary students fell in this bracket, with 6.7 per cent in the county.
Ivan Wels, from the Notts branch of the National Union of Teachers, said though the improvement was good, more needed to be done.
He said: "It is worrying when you look at absence figures.
"It's not just children missing lessons who are losing out, it's the other children who are there – when the absent children return, teachers have to help them catch up."
Parent Becky Humber, of Bilborough, who has two children at Hadden Park High, agreed.
She said: "It just disrupts everyone's education when people miss school."
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