Page last updated at 12:28 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Facts and figures on truancy

Graph: pupil absences

Absence from school is measured in England under different headings.

There are authorised absences - such as illness and holidays agreed by head teachers. But what is usually associated with truancy is an "unauthorised absence", where a child is missing lessons without permission.

Graph: Prosecutions of parents

It is this unauthorised rate - the yellow line in the graph above - which was the target for the government to reduce.

The graph shows that the pressure on parents to reduce authorised absences - such as term-time holidays - has been successful, which in turn has lowered the overall absence.

However the unauthorised rate - showing the pupils who were the original cause for concern - has risen rather than fallen.

In response, there has been a steady increase in proceedings taken against parents because of their children's truancy.

There was also a change in the way that the data was collected and reported from 2005-06.

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