This morning, schools minister Nick Gibb told Parliament that a change in government policy had led to fewer school days missed due to authorised family holidays.

Below, Schools Week will check that fact, using statistics released this morning by the Department for Education.


Has the proportion of absences due to authorised holiday decreased?


Yes. Figures released this morning show authorised family holidays in autumn 2011 and 2012 accounted for 6.4 and 6.2 per cent, respectively, of absences.

This figure has decreased since autumn 2013, when it was at 2.3 per cent, to just 1.1 per cent this autumn.


So he’s right, then?


Well, we will give him that. But when you look at unauthorised absences due to family holiday – that has had the reverse impact.

In 2011, 2.9 per cent of unauthorised absences were due to family holiday that was not agreed with the school. In autumn 2015, it was up to 4.2 per cent.

Or, in other words, 270,220 absences were due to family holidays that were not authorised, and 73,395 were given permission.

This graph shows this a bit more clearly:

Has the policy impacted on term-time holidays at all then?


Kind of. Overall, the number of absences due to holidays has dropped since the policy was introduced. But, more parents are taking their kids out of school without permission from school.

So, it can’t really be claimed as a win for the government.