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56,000 students miss school every day

The numbers of children missing school every day is dropping, but post-primary students still miss an average of 13 days a year.

Image: Photocall Ireland

THE NUMBERS OF children who go to school every day have improved, but six per cent of primary and eight per cent of post-primary days are lost to absenteeism.

New figures from the National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) for 2010-2011 show that although absenteeism is improving, there are still a large number of children missing school every day.

In total, 31,100 primary and 24,800 post-primary students miss school every day. That means that the average primary school student misses 11 days a year, while their post-primary colleagues miss 13.

Serious absenteeism, classified as any absences that accumulate to 20 days over a year, have fallen in both primary and post-primary levels. 11 per cent of primary school students and 16.5 per cent of post-primary students are absent for 20 days or more in a year.

Generally, non-attendance is higher in urban areas, with 20-day absences almost double the rural rate. Schools in disadvantaged areas have higher rates, but non-disadvantaged urban schools have higher rates of absenteeism than disadvantaged rural schools.

In primary schools, there were just 16 expulsions in primary schools and 136 in post-primary.

The report says that the figures are broadly in line with the UK.

Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald paid tribute to those who work in schools for their work on the issue.

All those who work in the area of education and educational welfare can be heartened by the fact that their continued efforts have contributed to bringing about this positive change.

“It is vital that we continue to work to sustain improvement in attendance year on year. This must be a truly collaborative effort between schools, statutory and support services and the home and must deliver an integrated approach to supporting student attendance but also effective participation in education and retention in the school system.”

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