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Almost two in five disadvantaged pupils were “persistently” absent from school last academic year, more than double the rate among non-disadvantaged pupils, new government data shows.

Pupil absence statistics for 2021-22 shows 37.2 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals missed 10 per cent or more sessions, compared to 17.5 per cent of their better-off peers.

In the previous year, 24,4 per cent of disadvantaged pupils and 8.3 per cent of non-disadvantaged pupils were persistently absent.

It comes after MPs were warned last week of “serious” levels of persistent absence among pupils. The government has made tackling the issue a priority.

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