Unauthorised absences rise across primary and secondary schools

CREDIT: This story was first seen in Tes

And the overall absence rate across schools has also risen, Tes reports.

Unauthorised absence rates have increased across primary and secondary schools since last year, official figures show.

The rates have risen from 0.9% in autumn-spring 2015-16 to 1.1% in autumn-spring 2016-17.

Government data released today said the rise is because of increased levels of unauthorised family holiday and other unauthorised absence.

The percentage of pupils who missed at least one session because of any family holiday – authorised or unauthorised – increased from 7.6% in autumn-spring 2015-16 to 9.4% in autumn-spring 2016-17.

The percentage of all possible sessions missed because of unauthorised family holidays increased from 0.2% in autumn-spring 2015-16 to 0.3 per cent in autumn-spring 2016-17.

The figures relate to the period after the May 2016 High Court judgement that ruled Jon Platt, a father from the Isle of Wight who took his daughter on a week-long trip during term-time to Florida, should not be fined by his local authority.

However, the figures also partly cover the period after the April 2017 Supreme Court judgment, which overturned the previous ruling in favour of the local authority.

The document states: “However, interpretation of any trends should be treated with caution due to the volatility of autumn and spring term absence figures.”

The overall absence rate across state-funded primary and secondary schools also increased slightly, from 4.4% in autumn-spring 2015-16 to 4.5 per cent in autumn-spring 2016-17.

The percentage of pupils who are, or may become, persistent absentees also rose this year – from 10.3% in autumn and spring 2015-16 to 10.4% in autumn-spring 2016-17.

Illness remains the most common reason for absence, accounting for 60.1% of all absences.

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