BOLTON is among the worst authorities in Greater Manchester for “persistent absences” in schools.

Nearly 200 children in Bolton did not go to school for 28 days or more in one term alone — and hundreds of others are at risk of regularly skipping class, new figures show.

The autumn term was 74 days long and 195 children in Bolton — or 0.5 per cent — missed about six weeks or more.

And 1,830 children — or 4.8 per cent of pupils — have also been identified as being at risk of becoming persistent absentees, having missed 11 days of the term.

Bolton Council chiefs defended the figures saying they showed a year-to-year drop — and that truancy was being tackled.

A council spokesman said: “The latest figures show a significant reduction in the number of pupils who were persistently absent in Bolton’s state-funded primary and secondary schools, dropping from 5.3 per cent in 2011-2012 to 4.5 per cent in 2012-2013 with full year figures being slightly better than the national and North West average.

“Attendance at schools is very important for all children and we will continue to work hard with parents, schools and partners to tackle unauthorised absences.”

The government measures persistent absence as children who miss 28 days during the full academic year.

The autumn term figures show how many youngsters have already become persistent absentees.

This is compared to neighbouring authority Bury, where the persistent absence rate stands at just 0.2 per cent and Salford’s figure of 0.3 per cent.

Stockport was the highest with Bolton, Oldham and Manchester taking the second highest.

The figures were released by the Department for Education and showed the absence and truancy rates for every authority in the country.

Bolton’s figure was higher than the national and local average.