2. What progress she has made on reducing pupil absence from schools. 
16. What progress she has made on reducing pupil absence from schools. 
In the autumn and spring of 2009-10, 45.8 million days of school were missed by pupils. By 2013-14, that figure had decreased to 35.7 million, the lowest number since comparable records began. The number of pupils who were persistently absent has also decreased, from 439,000 in 2009-10 to 262,000—again, a record low level. Time off for holidays has also dropped, by about 1.4 million school days, compared with the same period in 2009-10.
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. I also thank the Secretary of State for visiting Nuneaton last Thursday to hold a very positive round-table discussion with local head teachers. Good attendance is the bedrock of improving educational outcomes for our young people. Will my hon. Friend therefore join me in thanking the teachers, head teachers and governors in Warwickshire for the solid improvement in attendance in the past year?
The Secretary of State mentioned to me how much she enjoyed her visit to the George Eliot school in Nuneaton on Thursday and how valuable she found the round-table discussion with the head teachers from Nuneaton and north Warwickshire schools. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Nuneaton (Mr Jones) is assiduous in fighting for small businesses and more jobs in his constituency, and that he therefore understands the importance of education. I join him in paying tribute to all the teachers, parents and pupils for their efforts to reduce pupil absences, particularly in Warwickshire, where the number of school days lost owing to absence has fallen from 5.7% in 2009-10 to 4.2% this year. There have been similar falls in persistent absence.
Will the Minister join me in paying tribute to Perry Wood primary school in Worcester? Against a backdrop of falling absence levels in the county, the school has used pupil premium funding to introduce a walking bus and a breakfast club, and it has increased attendance from around 90% two years ago to an average of 96% today.
I pay tribute to the teachers at Perry Wood school for the innovative way in which they have reduced absence there. In fact, I congratulate schools throughout Worcester on improving school attendance. In Worcestershire as a whole, overall absence has dropped by a fifth and persistent absence by almost a quarter since 2009, and I pay tribute to all the teachers, parents and pupils for the work they are doing.
21. Another reason for school absence is that some pupils are young carers who have duties at home. The burden on young carers was shown tellingly in a BBC film called “Looking after Mum”, which was about a young carer who had been caring for her mother—my constituent—who had had a stroke when the child was four years old. What are Ministers doing to ensure that schools have policies in place to identify and support such young carers who have taken on a burden of care from the age of four? 
Schools play an important part in identifying young carers and offering them appropriate support. To assist them in that endeavour, the Department has been working with the Children’s Society and the Carers Trust to share tools and good practice with schools, including a free access e-learning module for school staff. The Department of Health is also training school nurses to support young carers at school.
Is it still the case that, for the purpose of drawing up school league tables, a pupil in hospital receiving treatment for cancer would be marked as absent?
Schools use various codes to report absences. In the case of any illness, chronic or otherwise, there is a specific code. Schools are not judged on the absence levels of pupils who are suffering chronic or other illnesses.