A 1,000 strong group of St Helens schoolchildren are regularly missing lessons, according to a new Government report.
Figures from the Department for Education reveal that the borough has 1,017 youngsters who miss more than 15 per cent of school sessions.
Although the percentage of persistent absentees has reduced from 5.4 in 2011/12 to 4.7 in 2012/13.
This places St Helens on an equivalent level with both the regional (4.7) and national averages (4.6).
Across the country, illness accounted for a large majority of school absences at just under 60 per cent.
And the rate of missed sessions as a result of family holidays reduced from 10 per cent to nine.
The percentage of regular absentees in St Helens primary schools was better than both the national (2.7) and regional (2.8) averages.
A total of 305 pupils were recorded as regularly missing class equating to 2.5 per cent of the total intake.
In secondary schools, the rate of regular absentees was higher than in other areas of the country.
A total of 663 pupils, working out at 7.1 per cent of the overall intake of 9,396, meant a higher rate than the national (6.5) and regional (6.6) averages.
The report classifies students as persistent absentees as those who have missed more than 15 per cent of state funded school sessions across the academic year’s six terms.
Special schools in St Helens also had comparable rates to elsewhere in the country with persistent absentees accounting for 16 per cent of last year’s cohort of 291.
Nationwide, 36 per cent of students had fewer than five days absence across the academic year.