Disagreement over absence reduction

Banding of secondary schools in Wales has helped reduce pupil absence, the Welsh government has claimed.

Latest statistics show the overall rate of absence in maintained secondary schools in Wales has dropped for the seventh year in a row, with just 7.4 per cent of sessions missed in 2012/13.

Unauthorised absences were also down, with 1.3 per cent of secondary sessions missed by pupils aged 16 and under.

Education unions welcomed the efforts being made by teachers to keep pupils in Welsh classrooms but were less certain that banding was responsible for the improvement.

Since December 2011 schools in Wales have been grouped in one of five bands based on a range of criteria including attendance and exam results. Band one schools are considered best-performing, while band five schools are considered weak and in need of more support. Those in lower bands tend to have attendance rates in the bottom 25 per cent of schools in Wales.

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