FEWER children are missing school in Lancashire, new figures have revealed.

According to the results released by the Department of Education, the absence rate across state primary and secondary schools in England decreased, from 5.8 per cent to 5 per cent – the lowest level in recent years.

Lancashire County Council schools had one of the lowest percentages of unauthorised absences in the North West and saw a decrease in the number of authorised, overall and persistent absentees.

In Blackburn and Darwen primary and secondary schools there was an increase in the number of persistent absentees across primary and secondary schools from 3.8 per cent to 5.1 per cent.

Pupils are classed as persistent absentees if absent for around 15 per cent of all possible sessions – equating to 38 or more half days for this period.

Religious celebrations like Eid also affected the overall figures and may explain some absences during the autumn term.

Both the county council and Blackburn with Darwen Council said they were working with parents to highlight the damage caused by not sending their children to school.

Coun Tony Humphrys, executive member for schools and education at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “We are very pleased to note that overall attendance levels have improved.

“We do, however, acknowledge that work needs to be on-going in order to promote the good attendance of all our children and young people.

“Good school attendance gives children the opportunity of success and helps develop skills for life.

“Missing school damages a pupil’s learning and their grades, disrupts routines and can make pupils vulnerable to crime.”

Coun Susie Charles, county council cabinet member for children and schools at Lancashire, said: “I am delighted that fewer of Lancashire’s pupils are missing school.

“Our performance in these measures is better than the national figure for primary and secondary schools.

“These improvements are a direct result of schools working effectively with the county council to ensure that pupils are in school and so ready to learn.

“However, we will continue to work alongside schools to build upon current practice to further improve attendance rates.”