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  Truancy up in secondary schools
Updated 16 September 2004, 15.23
Policeman talks to students in a truancy sweep
The number of teenagers bunking off school has gone up in England.

Unauthorised absences from secondary schools - that's not including time off for hospital appointments and agreed holidays - has risen by nearly 7%.

It is looking better for primary schools though, where it was found that fewer children have been absent from lessons, with or without permission.

Overall, the number of absences recorded in all schools in England was down this year by 0.26% to 6.57%.

The statistics, which cover the last academic year, show that almost a quarter of all secondary school pupils play truant at some point.

Schools minister Stephen Twigg said it was "clearly disappointing" to see that secondary school truancy levels were up, but said he was pleased with the overall results.

Fines

The government has recently started fining parents who take their children out of school for holidays, and those who don't make their children go to school, up to 100.

If the fine isn't paid the parents could even be sent to prison.

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