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'There are now 1.4 million truants on Britain's streets who don't understand a word on the blackboard in any language.' - The Sun.We say ...

Millions of children were out of school this week, but that was because it was half-term.

The latest government figures suggest that, on an average school morning, 60,740 of the 6 million pupils in England will be absent without permission.

Add on the much lower figures from Scotland and Wales and you will still be nowhere close to 1.4 million.

And where did The Sun get data showing that none of the persistent truants can understand a written word in any language?

Perhaps it is assuming the truants are all from the fifth of pupils it states leave primary school unable to read. Yet this claim (debunked on page 18) ignores the fact that 93 per cent of 11-year-olds have at least the reading skills expected of 9-year-olds.

The Sun blames primary teachers, who it claims are blocking phonics lessons because they see them as "oppressive and right wing". Strange, then, that phonics is now taught in all state primary schools.

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