Education and Skills written question – answered on 24th February 2005.

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Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children played truant in the last year for which figures are available.

Photo of Stephen Twigg Stephen Twigg Minister of State (Education and Skills) (School Standards)

In the school year 2003/04, 567,503 primary pupils and 696,600 secondary pupils recorded at least one half day's unauthorised absence. Unauthorised absence includes absence due to lateness or family holidays taken during term time without the school's permission, as well as truancy. Recent research in to pupil absence suggests that around 2 per cent. of secondary school pupils are persistent truants, responsible for almost half of all unauthorised absence in secondary schools.

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