The number of children missing lessons in Nottingham has fallen faster than anywhere else in the UK.

Statistics published by the Department of Education show that in the last school year (Sept 2013 – July 2014) pupil absence decreased from 6.1% in 2012/13 to 5.1% in 2013/14. This is down to a drop in authorised absence rates from 4.0% to 3.3% and unauthorised absence rates also dropped slightly to 1.8%.

One of the biggest changes is the number of children persistently missing class (those who miss 15 per cent of school) has dropped 1.8% from 6.4% to 4.6%.

‘Illness’ is still the most common reason given for not being in school, accounting for 46.8% of all absences in 2013/14. But this figure is down by 3% and is most noticeable in secondary schools, where a smaller proportion of pupils are taking time off.

Schools across Nottingham have been cracking down on pupil absence and these figures show that their consistent focus is really working. Schools are also doing more to celebrate good attendance and offer more attendance incentives to pupils.

Last year pupils with the best attendance were given prizes at a special Lord Mayors Attendance Awards at the Council House. Nottingham City Council also joined forces with Capital FM to run a campaign with secondary students to help improve attendance rates. The class from each school or academy with the best attendance record got the chance to go to a top secret gig and watch girl band Neon Jungle.

Pat Fielding, Director of Education said: “We would like to congratulate pupils, parents, schools and academies across the City for their focus on good attendance. A lot of work has gone into cracking down on school absence and celebrating good attendance. This is making a huge difference. Nottingham is rapidly narrowing the gap in absence rates with the rest of the UK. Schools and academies, pupils and parents deserve recognition for their great work.”