Absent pupils: Academies in bottom three for attendance

ACADEMIES in two Yorkshire cities have some of the worst attendance records in the country, according to the league tables.

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Sheffield Park Academy and South Leeds Academy both had more than one in five of their pupils classed as persistent absentees during the 2009/10 academic year.

Only one other school in England had a worse record – Manchester Creative and Media Academy for Boys.

Pupils are classes as being persistently absent if they miss more than a fifth of their education through either truancy or authorised absence.

New figures from the Department for Education show that Sheffield Park had the country's second highest level of persistent absentees at 20.8 per cent while South Leeds was the nation's third worst with 20.1 per cent of students regularly missing the equivalent of a day a week.

Yorkshire secondary schools feature heavily in a national league table highlighting schools with the highest level of absentees. There were 12 schools in the region among the nation's worst 50 – including five academies and 37 Yorkshire schools in the country's bottom 200. Of these 24 schools had more than one in 10 pupils classed as being persistently absent.

The region's other worst performers were Primrose High, Swallow Hill Community College and Parklands Girls, all in Leeds – meaning the city had four of Yorkshire's bottom five.

Parkwood Academy in Sheffield, Matthew Humberstone CE School in Cleethorpes, Lawnswood School in Leeds, Bridlington School and Sports College, David Young Academy in Leeds, Endeavour High in Hull and Sheffield Springs Academy were all in the bottom 50 in England.

Kathy August, the deputy chief executive, of the United Learning Trust which sponsors Sheffield Park, said that specialist staff were working in the school to improve its attendance record.