PUPILS across the county's schools missed an average of 2.8 days during the autumn term - with thousands absent every day.

Figures from the Department for Education show that on average 2,764 pupils were out of school every day in Worcestershire - with around one in five of those absences unauthorised.

But the majority of absences from the county's schools between September and December, 79 per cent, were authorised.

Illness accounted for 63 per cent of time out of school with medical appointments, religious observances and holiday the other reasons given for authorising absence.

Just seven per cent of absences were recorded as being for unauthorised holidays, but a further 11 per cent were unauthorised with no reason stated.

With 67,000 pupils enrolled in the county’s schools, as many as 180,000 teaching days were lost.

Cllr Marcus Hart, cabinet member with responsibility for education and skills, said: "Regular school attendance is key to ensuring success in education.

“Even though we are pleased to see that the county figures are better than the national average, Worcestershire County Council will continue working with schools, parents, teachers and children to improve our attendance figures further.

“We are committed to providing access to high quality education that helps young people reach their full potential, and that starts with ensuring that pupils are in school."

Pupils between the ages of five and 15 in state schools in Worcestershire missed an average of 2.8 days over the autumn term - lower than the West Midlands average of 2.9 days and the national average of three days.

Worcestershire's primary school pupils fared better on average missing 2.5 days compared to the three days secondary school students missed.

Across the county, 7,278 pupils were classed as 'persistently absent' - meaning they missed more than ten percent of their total lesson time.

Local councils can impose fines of £60 on parents for not ensuring their children attend school, rising to £120 if not paid within 21 days.