New figures have shown that one in seven primary school pupils in Bury were persistently absent this year as rates remain high after the pandemic.

The figures gathered from The Department for Education show that 14.9 per cent of pupils missed at least 10 per cent of classes in the school year 2022-23 and were considered consistently absent from the 59 primary schools that reported numbers for Bury.

This rate was lower than secondary schools, where the figure stood at 27.9 per cent.

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In 2018-19, before the pandemic, the persistent absence rate for primary schools was 7.7 per cent and 15 per cent for secondaries.

It’s thought that these absences are still stemming from the impact of Covid-19 and also the more recent cost-of-living crisis with parents struggling to pay from school uniform or travel costs.

The national figures exceeded pre-pandemic levels, with 22.3 per cent of pupils persistently missing classes.

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Although slightly lower than last year, the number was still significantly up on 10.9 per cent in 2018-19.

In Bury, 5.6 per cent of classes were missed by primary school pupils and 9.1 per cent by those in secondary schools.

Across the country, the overall absence rate remained unchanged from the previous academic year – 7.5 per cent on average for all types of schools.

Secondary school children had the highest unauthorised absence of 3.5 per cent of classes missed.

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Education secretary Gillian Keegan said: “We are supporting parents and teachers year-round to make sure children are in classrooms and ready to learn – from attendance mentors and school staff giving direct support to children and families, to our Holiday Activity and Food programmes running over summer and helping prepare children for school in September.

“Being in school is quite simply the most important thing for children’s education, and so valuable for their mental health.

“We all – government, schools, parents and young people – have a part to play in making sure classrooms are full day in, day out.”

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