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Truancy in England

* The Audit Commission said in 1999 that just under 400,000 of the 8 million pupils, are absent every day for various reasons. Only about one in 10 of these is officially a truant.

* 40 per cent of street crime, 25 per cent of burglaries, 20 per cent of criminal damage and a third of car thefts are carried out by 10 to 16-year-olds in school hours.

* A prisoner is 10 times more likely than other people to have been a regular truant.

* Percentage of half-days missed due to unauthorised absence is O.7 overall: 0.4 per cent in primary and 1.1 per cent in secondary schools.

Authorised absence is 6.3 per cent, bringing total absence to 7 per cent of half-day sessions

* In 1998, Government set a target of reducing days lost to truancy by one third by 2002. It failed. The target is now to cut it by 10 per cent by 2004.

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