MORE than one in ten children in Bury missed at least a month's worth of school in one year, shock figures show.

In the last academic year, 11.8 per cent of children ­—3,144 ­— were classed as persistent absentees.

And department for education figures also reveal that more than 1,000 fines were issued to families for taking children on term time holidays ­— with Bury Council having one of the highest rates in the country.

A total of 1,881 'holiday' fines were handed out in 2017/2018 ­— with the penalties issued per 1,000 pupils during the same year being the third highest in Greater Manchester.

The number of persistent absentees ­— those who miss ten per cent of school ­— is higher than the national average of 11.2 per cent and the North West average of 11.6 per cent.

But Bury's figure has fallen significantly from 2016 to 2017 when the overall rate of persistent absentees stood at one in eight children missing nearly a month of school ­— 12.3 per cent or 3332 pupils.

But the figures for authorised and unauthorised absences were in line with the regional and national figures.

In secondary school, 15 per cent of children were classed as being persistently absent and that figure stood at 8.8 per cent for primary schools.

But in special schools ­— more than a quarter ­— were classed as persistently absent.

Education chiefs say they are working to increase attendance.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: "We are working with schools to support better analysis of attendance data, identifying trends and vulnerable groups, and more effectively targeting our Education Welfare Officer provision to meet individual schools’ needs.

"Schools are now far more aware of the scale of the issue and, working together through the Inclusion Partnerships, are identifying different ways of addressing pupil absence and exclusion."

Nationally the number of parents fined for their children’s poor attendance at school has risen by 74.7 per cent over 12 months to 260,877 in 2017/18. Some 85.4 per cent of the fines were issued for unauthorised family holiday absence. The increase happened after a dad lost a Supreme Court case over the holidays issue. Lancashire County Council issued the most fines to parents for taking children out of school for family holidays of any education authority in the county.

In 2017/18 it gave 7,575 penalty notices for non-attendance for that reason out of a total of 7,891 issued for pupil absences.

A county council spokesman said: “As Lancashire has more schools than any other local authority we are always likely to issue more fines. We encourage schools to work closely with parents to reduce unauthorised absences. Our aim is not to punish parents but to ensure children receive a good education.”