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By the numbers - Pupil absence

The downward trend in pupil absence has continued, according to the latest Department for Education statistics.

The overall absence rate - the percentage of half-days missed - fell from 6 per cent in 2009-10 to 5.8 per cent in 2010-11.

The most commonly reported reason for absence was illness, which accounted for 59 per cent of the half-days missed. Parents taking their children out of school for holidays accounted for 9 per cent.

The proportion of pupils classed as persistent absentees - those who missed 46 or more half-days in a year - fell from 6.8 per cent to 6.1 per cent in the same period.

Ministers have lowered the threshold for the definition of persistent absenteeism from 20 per cent of school missed to 15 per cent, to enable schools to tackle the situation sooner.

7 - On average, pupils in primaries missed seven days of school a year. In secondaries they missed 10 days.

22 - One-fifth of pupils were persistently absent in 22 primaries and in 36 secondaries.

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