A growing number of teenagers are missing school because of stress and anxiety in their lives, according to the state agency that monitors school attendance.

The child and family agency Tusla says last year 12% of education referrals it received related to young people in this situation.

It is the first year data on this has been compiled.

Tusla was launching a national campaign this morning to encourage school attendance.

It says children lose valuable education and social opportunities if their school attendance is bad.

At primary level parents can play a strong role but Tusla says there is a more complex problem at second level, and it's growing.

'More and more' it says it is encountering teenagers who are finding it too stressful to be in school.

This can be related to the school atmosphere or other pressures in their lives.

Tusla has urged parents with young people in this situation to contact them.

It says it will not adopt a disciplinary approach, and that there are options.