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Bradford school attendance figures are improving
Pupil absences at schools in Bradford have improved faster than in Yorkshire and across the rest of the country, the latest figures have revealed.
But absences in the district have remained higher than the national and the regional average, according to figures released yesterday by the Department for Education for September 2011 through to Easter.
Education chiefs in the district have praised schools for improving figures, but warned there is still more to do.
Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “I want to see us improving but I know there are still problems and challenges we need to face and parents need to know what they are doing to children if they keep them off. You are damaging your children’s future and prospects.
“My position is there’s no complacency here – we have more to do. We have made a lot of progress in the right direction, but people have seriously got to think about their priorities when they are taking their children on holiday. And what we need to know is whether an absence is because of any problem in the family.
“One of the key indicators of a problem in a family is a growing pattern of lateness and absences. The first line of safeguarding is getting on top of pupil absences.”
The figures also show the improvement rate for persistent absence – which counts pupils with less than 85% attendance is better in the Bradford district than Yorkshire and the Humber and in England.
Nearly 2,200 fewer pupils in primary and secondary schools were counted as persistently absent compared with the previous year’s figures – a reduction of 34 per cent. But the 5.4 per cent overall absence in Bradford remained above the national average of five per cent and the regional average of 5.1 and the persistent absence rate in Bradford remained higher than both at 5.9 per cent, compared to 4.9 per cent nationally and 5.4 across Yorkshire and the Humber.
George McQueen, the Council’s assistant director for access and inclusion, said: “These figures are the result of the hard work of all involved in efforts to improve overall school attendance in the Bradford District.
“There has been a significant increase in attendance year on year. In the last five years overall attendance has risen by about two per cent in the district’s primary and secondary schools. The figures also show a significant reduction in the number of persistently absent pupils as well as reductions in authorised and unauthorised absence.
“Congratulations should go to all who have contributed to this success.”