THE number of Isle of Wight secondary school students who regularly miss school is almost double the national average — leading to plans to create a new forum to tackle the problem.
Figures released by the Isle of Wight Council reveal 12.9 per cent of students were classed as persistently absent between September 2011 and April 2012, compared with a national average of 6.8 per cent.
In a bid to tackle the problem, the council this week announced plans to set up a joint forum with schools and colleges to understand why absence levels are so high and agree a way forward.
Membership of the forum would include headteachers, chairs of governors and senior council officers.
A decision on the creation of the forum is due to be made soon under delegated powers by council leader Cllr David Pugh.
A delegated decision report revealed the local authority failed to meet its education performance targets during the second quarter of the current financial year.
It warned there had been significant underperformance following this year's exam results.
As previously reported, only 45.1 per cent of students achieved five GCSEs at grades A* to C, including English and maths, compared with the national average of 58.6 per cent, causing the Isle of Wight to plummet to second from bottom in the national league table.