A third of Bradford's secondary schools are on a Government hit-list for having the country's most prolific truants.

Nine schools are being targeted as part of a national crackdown which will see parents fast-tracked to court.

The Department for Education and Skills has identified about 200 schools across the country which have a combined total of 8,000 pupils who have the nation's worst attendance records.

The nine Bradford secondary schools represent almost a third of the area's 29 state secondary schools - more than any other education authority in the country.

The Fast Track to Attendance scheme was unveiled by Schools Minister Jacqui Smith last September.

But the names of the schools have only been revealed now after a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Bradford schools on the list are Beckfoot, Bingley; Bradford Cathedral Community College, East Bowling; Carlton Bolling College, Undercliffe; Greenhead High School, Keighley; Immanuel CE Community College, Thackley; Queensbury School; Rhodesway School, Allerton; Salt Grammar, Baildon, and Tong School, Westgate Hill Street.

The Government compiled the list based on school attendance records over previous years.

Under the scheme schools are required to identify their worst truants.

And if the attendance of these pupils fails to improve within 12 weeks their parents will face prosecution.

Truants at the target schools will also get their own action plan and can be offered an alternative curriculum.

A spokesman for Education Bradford, the private firm which runs the district's education services, said no figures were available for the number of Bradford parents who had been fined.

However, Education Bradford has issued 787 fixed-penalty-notice warning letters to parents and handed out 340 fines for truancy since September.

Education Bradford, which is operated by Serco, began using £50 fines in June, last year and was issuing them at a rate of two a day.

Its spokesman said the Fast Track to Attendance scheme supported a robust system which was already in place.

Barbara Lawrie, its principal education social worker, said: "The DfES describes unauthorised absence as truancy, giving the impression that all the young people involved are, unknown to their parents, deliberately avoiding going to school.

"However, unauthorised absence also involves parents condoning absence and sometimes truancy patrols spot children shopping with their parents in school hours. It can also involve families taking holidays in term time which have not been authorised by the school, or just being late for registration.

"In Bradford we have a firm and robust attitude to unauthorised absence."

The new scheme has been welcomed by Bradford councillors.

Councillor Phil Thornton, (Lab, Windhill and Wrose), chairman of the council committee which scrutinises education in Bradford, said: "It should come as no surprise to us that our schools are on this hit list because we have such a real issue with truancy."

"While there may be some legitimate reasons for a child to be out of school I don't accept that any child should not have access to a full education."