Attendance at Bradford schools improved during the last school year, new statistics reveal.

Figures from the Department for Children, Schools and Families show the number of half-days missed without permission by pupils between the beginning of the autumn term in 2007 and the end of the spring term in 2008 has gone down by nearly four per cent.

The figures, for all mainstream primary and secondary schools, show 281,177 half-days were missed due to truancy. During the same period the previous year a total of 292,602 half-days were lost.

Primary schools lose just over one in every 100 half days during the year, while secondary schools are losing nearly three in every 100 half-days.

Denise Faulconbridge, Education Bradford’s director of access and inclusion, said: “This is good news for Bradford. We are not complacent as there are still too many half days missed.”

Stuart Herdson, Bradford branch secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “Education Bradford has been working with quite a lot of schools to get absence levels down so these figures don’t surprise me.

“Education welfare officers and people like the police, who pick children up in town, have also played their part.

“But a lot depends on parents and their background and how important they class school. You also get parents taking holidays during term time.”

Councillor Michael Kelly, executive member for children’s services, said: “This is great news for the district. We must continue to work to drive down these figures.”

Despite the overall improvement, truancy levels in Bradford remain high compared with other local authorities. Earlier this month the Telegraph & Argus revealed nearly six out of ten Bradford primary schools had truancy rates above the national average.