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ALMOST 40 pupils bunk off school every day in Warwickshire, shock new figures reveal.

About 2,775 primary pupils and 4,624 secondary students in the county played truant at some point last year, according to statistics released by the Department for Education and Skills.

An average of eight half days were missed per primary pupil and 14 half days per secondary pupil.

This makes an average of 16 primary pupils and 22 comprehensive students from the county missing each day without good reason.

The figure was 0.2 per cent down on last year.

Over the border in Coventry, an average of 46 pupils bunk off school every day, meaning about 1,800 primary pupils and 3,700 secondary students played truant in the city last year.

Primary school pupils took an average of eight half days off without permission, with the figure rising to 15 among secondary students - but this was a 0.2 per cent improvement on last year.

In the run-up to Christmas last year, police and education officers stopped all children found in Leamington and Warwick when they should have been at school.

The run-up to Christmas is a hotspot for truancy.

And, in May 2002, education workers set up a stall in Leamington's Royal Priors, to talk to children and their parents about school attendance.

Warwickshire county councillor Bryan Levy said a harder approach should be taken.

He said: "Tighter control should be something we are looking at now. Prosecution is the last line - it should be something done if the parents don't care or have no control."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 19, 2003
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