MORE than 2,000 pupils from schools across Kirklees are persistently absent from lessons, according to new figures.
The government figures show truancy has reached record levels across the country with Yorkshire schools having the highest rates nationwide.
In Kirklees, the percentage of half days missed by truants was 0.97% compared with the Yorkshire figure of 1.17% and 1.0% nationwide.
The percentage of pupils persistently absent was 4.1% of the of the region’s 53,232 pupils attending school in the region.
This was the same as the England total and below the regional figure of 4.6%.
Nationally, about 63,000 children skipped classes every day while 273,000 persistently absent missed a fifth of their lessons through truancy, illness or holidays during the last school year.
The figures, published by the Department for Children, Schools and families reveal truancy rates for the autumn term of 2006 and the spring term of 2007 and include reasons why pupils were not in school.
Minister for Young People, Kevin Brennan, is writing to all local authorities urging them to keep up the pressure on persistent absence, tackling the causes, ensuring good behaviour and making parents accountable.
He used it to issue a challenge to local authorities and schools to cut persistent absence by at least a third by 2011.
Between 2004 and 2007, more than 30,000 penalty notices were issued to parents because of their child’s high level of unauthorised absence and more than 19,000 parenting contracts were agreed to improve attendance.
Mr Brennan said: “Local authorities, schools and parents all have a key role to play in ensuring children attend school, are on time and don’t go on unauthorised term-time holidays. We want to offer all the support we can to vulnerable children. However, there’s no excuse for parents who turn a blind eye or schools that accept weak reasons for absence.”