Attendance at schools in Essex is at its highest since records began, according to data published by the Department for Education last week.
Statistics for the autumn and spring terms in 2015/16 show the percentage of sessions missed in state-funded primary schools in Essex was 3.7 per cent – above both the national and East of England averages, which were 3.9 per cent.
The figure means Essex enjoys its best ever ranking of 29th out of 151 local authorities.
At secondary level, the percentage of sessions missed in Essex was 4.8 per cent, compared with 5 per cent nationally and 4.9 per cent for the East of England, meaning the county remains ranked 54th.
The increase in school attendance rates comes as Essex enjoys much improved Ofsted ratings and amid continued exam success for the county.
More than nine in ten Essex schools are currently rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted, while the average Attainment 8* score and percentage of Key Stage 2 pupils achieving at least the expected standard in reading, writing and maths are both above the national averages.
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “There are very clear links between attendance and attainment.
“It is no coincidence that the fantastic improvements made by Essex schools come at a time when the county has recorded its best ever attendance figures. Proof indeed, that every lesson really does count.
“Our Missing Education and Child Employment Service works very closely with schools and families to address persistent or unauthorised absences, and I am proud of this latest achievement.
“We remain committed to ensuring all children in Essex receive the best possible education and, where necessary, will continue to take the action required to protect the learning of the county’s pupils.”