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About 27% of pupils said they had played truant in both Norwich and Plymouth - the highest truancy rates in England, said the survey.
Statistics for the school year which ended in July show that out of 22,734 Coventry primary school pupils 2,132 played truant.
Nearly a third of secondary school pupils and a quarter of primary-age children played truant in Birmingham last year.
A WELSH MP yesterday criticised magistrates for jailing a mother whose two children played truant in West Wales.
A NORTH Wales man faces arrest over claims his 10-year-old son played truant from school because he wanted to stay at home to protect his mum from attacks.
Contraceptives were handed out as the girls played truant.
About 2,775 primary pupils and 4,624 secondary students in the county played truant at some point last year, according to statistics released by the Department for Education and Skills.
The Smoking, Drinking and Drug Misuse Among Young People in England in 2002 survey found that 35 per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds who had ever played truant admitted to smoking regularly -at least one cigarette a week.