Pupils have missed 800,000 more days this autumn term compared to last year as school absence rates crept up.

Government figures released today chart absence rates from the autumn term 2014 compared to previous autumn terms.

The overall absence rate across state-funded primary and secondary schools increased slightly from 4.3 per cent in 2013 to 4.4 per cent in 2014.

The rate in secondary schools rose from 4.9 per cent to 5.1 per cent with the primary rate remaining unchanged at 3.9 per cent.

The total number of days missed by pupils rose from 19m in 2013 to 19.8m last year. It is still considerably down on the 25.4m days missed in 2010, though.

The Government report read: “The slight increase in overall absence is due to higher levels of authorised absences, specifically absences due to illness.

“Illness is the most common reason for absence and heavily influences overall absence rates.”

Chart for holiday absences

The stark plunge in the number of families taking their children out of school for holidays continued. (Table right)

It fell from 0.6 per cent last year to 0.3 per cent. It is a huge difference from more than 4 per cent in 2010.

Laws changed in September 2013 which meant parents would be fined for taking their children out of school for holidays.

And the number of unauthorised holiday absences, which had been rising slight, also fell. But rates still remain higher than in 2010.

Schools Week has also compiled tables of the top and bottom local authorities.

The London borough of Redbridge tops the table for the higher number of overall absences, with 4.6 per cent.

Local authorities with the highest absence rates







Rutland had the lowest overall absence rate with 2.9 per cent.

Authorities with the lowest absence rates








And Stoke-on-Trent topped the local authority table for the highest number of unauthorised absences with 1.4 per cent.

Authorities with the highest unauthorised absence rate