TRUANCY levels at Kirklees schools are coming down.
Schools categorise absences in two ways - authorised absences when the school gives permission for a child to be off school, and unauthorised absences children do not have a reason for not turning up.
Assessors use the unit of a half-day to calculate absences.
The total number of half days missed (both authorised and unauthorised) at Kirklees primary schools in 2003 was 5.7% off 100% attendance, according to figures released by the council.
The situation was worse in secondary schools, where worst offenders were 14- and 15-year-olds.
Last year the percentage of half days missed was 7.8%. The figure has dropped - 7.9% was recorded in 2001 to 2002 and 8.2% in 2000 to 2001.
Stephen Mason, social work manager in the education access service, said the service used a range of strategies to combat truancy.
"Once we have identified what the barriers are to attending school we can come up with the best strategy," he said.
"Our role is to support, encourage or enforce.
"Children may not attend because they are anxious, or suffering from bullying. Sometimes parents keep children off school to keep them company.
"And so we approach parents and tell them that it is their children's right to have an education and we tell them of their need for an education.
"In some situations where parents are unco-operative we will consider prosecution and a fine or imposing a parenting order in extreme cases."
The council receives about 1,800 referrals a year for attendance problems and prosecutes about 40 families.