City has amongst highest absence rates

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Secondary level pupils in Londonderry posted alarmingly low school attendance rates last year - lower than anywhere outside North and West Belfast, it’s been revealed.

Education Minister John O’Dowd outlined how 110.9 pupils per thousand in the Foyle constituency, recorded less than 85 per cent attendance.

Only in North Belfast (143.7) and West Belfast (130.5) were there higher non-attendance rates. The Minister revealed the details in response to an Assembly Question tabled by UUP MLA Roy Beggs.

The Education and Welfare Service (EWS) says attendances below 85 per cent are concerning.

Answering an Assembly Question three years ago Mr O’Dowd explained the EWS receives “referrals from schools when pupils’ attendance is a cause for concern or when attendance drops below 85 per cent.”

The EWS supports schools through proactive work on attendance strategies and advising on attendance policy.