Schools in Cambridgeshire use behaviour and attendance profiles produced by their local authority to cut truancy.
The scheme, one of a few "pockets of exemplary practice" identified by inspectors, allows schools to identify and target pupils at risk of disaffection.
Schools can compare their absence and exclusion rates with the average for those in similar circumstances and identify areas for action.
City of Ely college was funded to appoint a part-time attendance worker after the profile revealed higher-than-expected absence and exclusion rates. The worker ensured pupils and parents understood that unjustified absence would not be tolerated.
As a result, unauthorised absence fell from 2.2 to 1 per cent in 2003-4 and there was a 50 per cent reduction in exclusions.