The information requested is available as part of the Achievement and Attainment tables and can be found at:
The rate of overall absence in primary schools in 1996/97 was 6.1 per cent.; this has reduced to 5.3 per cent. for the first two terms of the 2006/07 academic year, the latest period for which information is available. For secondary schools the overall absence rate fell from 9.1 per cent. to 7.8 per cent. over the same period.
The standardisation of codes for pupil absence and attendance in 2006 has lead to a tightening of authorisation of absence from schools, correspondent with an increase in unauthorised absence in the context of falling overall absence.
For primary schools the unauthorised absence rate in 1996/97 was 0.5 per cent.; for the combined autumn term 2006 and spring term 2007 (the latest period for which figures are available) this had changed to 0.52 per cent. For secondary schools the rate of unauthorised absence changed from 1.1 per cent. in 1996/97 to 1.46 per cent. in autumn term 2006 and spring term 2007.
Tables showing the absence rates by local authority for both 1996/97 and combined data for autumn term 2006 and spring term 2007 have been placed in the House Library.
All local authorities have met the requirement to have a named individual responsible for identifying children missing education and their role includes proactively tracking pupils. Local authorities use different job titles for this responsibility which some have chosen to call pupil tracking officers.