Drop in pupil absence rates

Children from Moor Park Primary School
Children from Moor Park Primary School
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SCHOOL absence rates are improving in Blackpool but the resort remains one of the worst areas in the country for attendance.

Figures released by Blackpool Council indicate overall absence rates have shown a gradual reduction in both primary and secondary schools in the last three years.

Primary schools have seen absence rates drop from 5.90 per cent in 2009/2010 to 4.88 per cent in 2011/2012.

Secondary schools in the resort have also seen a reduction from 8.12 per cent to 7.23 per cent thanks to a number of initiatives to ensure better attendance.

This week a number of celebration events are being held for around 1,000 high attending pupils at Blackpool Football Club.

Despite improvements however, the most up-to-date absence figures released by the Department of Education show Blackpool still has one of the highest absence rates in the country.

In the autumn term last year, the overall absent rate for Blackpool children – in primary and secondary schools – was 5.7 per cent.

This puts Blackpool only behind the Isle of Wight and Nottingham and on a par with Barnsley and Middlesborough.

Blackpool’s battle with children being categorised as persistently absent – or missing more than 15 per cent of lessons – is also continuing to present a challenge.

Rates are reducing however according to Blackpool Council. Of Blackpool’s 9,248 primary school children 4.28 per cent were classed as persistently absent in 2011/2012.

In secondary schools, of 7,696 pupils, 11.69 per cent fell into this category. Coun Sarah Riding, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member for Education, said: “Good school attendance is crucial if children and young people are to achieve their potential in life.”