FOR the second time in four years, Dundee’s schools have the worst record of pupil attendance in the country, with an average of 7.6 per cent of state school pupils absent from school during the 2014-15 academic year.
The figures, published by the Scottish Government, contain statistics for all state schools across Scotland.
Dundee’s yearly attendance level of 92.4 per cent is more than three per cent lower than that of table-topper East Renfrewshire who enjoyed 95.6 per cent attendance.
Schools across the Angus region enjoyed a marked increase of 1.9 per cent during the same timeframe.
In the Central Belt, Edinburgh recorded 94.1 per cent attendance, while Glasgow lagged further behind on 92.8 per cent.
These particular Government figures measure solely when a child is in school and do not discount legitimate reasons for being off such as illness or sports trips.
Earlier in November, Dundee City Council unveiled the Every Day Counts scheme designed to increase awareness of the importance of school attendance.
In a statement during the launch of the scheme, Education Convener Councillor Stewart Hunter said: “We are opening a dialogue with parents about attendance because it is one of the most crucial issues that we face in the city. We are absolutely determined to close the attainment gap across Dundee and we want to encourage our pupils to make the most of their time at school as possible.”
Despite this added detail, the Scottish Government report warns that comparisons between local authorities over time are “not reliable” due to discrepancies in the recording process and changes in the frequency of result-recording.
Councillor Hunter added: “Apart from the impact on a pupil’s education, there is also the danger that children not attending school are putting themselves at risk in our communities. This is something that we want to stop.
“Our aim is to work together with families, to support and encourage them.
Across Scotland’s secondary schools as a whole, those identifying as from “Mixed or multiple” or “African/Black/Caribbean” ethnic groups had the highest attendance figures in the study.
In addition, the least deprived secondary school students from the top 20 per cent of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation had a 94.5 per cent attendance rate, compared to 88.7 per cent for the most deprived 20 per cent.