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Almost one in 10 UK pupils miss lessons for holidays

Almost one in 10 UK children miss lessons without the school's permission to go on holiday
Almost one in 10 UK children miss lessons without the school's permission to go on holiday

By Alison Kershaw

Almost one in 10 UK children miss lessons without the school's permission to go on holiday.

Across two terms in the last academic year, more than 630,000 young people were taken out for an unauthorised family trip, according to data published by the UK's Department for Education (DfE).

It has been argued that many parents consider taking their child out of class for family trips due to the high cost of travelling during school holidays.

But ministers argue that missing just one day of school can affect a child's education and school leaders say it is important that children miss "as little time as possible".

The government's figures show that in the autumn term of 2018 and the spring term of 2019, 631,108 pupils in England had one or more sessions (half a day) of unauthorised absence due to family holidays.

During these terms, there were 7,057,021 pupils on school rolls - meaning 8.9% missed at least half a day of lessons due to unauthorised trips.

The proportion of pupils missing classes for holidays is increasing, analysis shows.

For the same two terms in 2016/17, 7.7% of children missed at least half a day of lessons due to unauthorised absence, and in 2017/18 the proportion was around eight per cent.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "It is important that children miss as little time at school as possible. The cumulative effect of missed days can be harmful to children's education. The best way to ensure children are learning and progressing is for them to attend school during term time."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "The rules on term-time absences are clear: no child should be taken out of school without good reason."

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