Rise in pupils taking term-time holidays in Sheffield

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The number of pupils missing school in Sheffield to go on a term-time holiday has risen, according to new figures.

New Government figures show that there was the equivalent of 1.8 sessions - half a school day - missed for every one of the 66,712 pupils who attended city schools in 2015-16.

This was a rise of 0.1 per cent compared to the previous academic year.

They also showed that 3.2 per cent of sessions were missed last year due to authorised absence, such as illness - compared to 3.5 per cent the year before.

However, the overall rate of absence in Sheffield schools fell from 5.2 per cent in 2014/15 to 5 per cent in 2015/16.

Pupils in Yorkshire and The Humber and the North East of England lost the most time to holiday. The Department of Education figures showed the number of absences was equivalent to 1.5 school sessions for every pupil.

A DfE spokesman said: "The rules are clear - children should not be taken out of school without good reason.

"Evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil's chances of achieving good GCSEs, which has a lasting effect on their life chances.

"A child who is absent also impacts teachers, whose lesson plans are disrupted by children missing large portions of teaching.

"That is why we have tightened the rules to put teachers firmly back in charge of their classrooms, and we are supporting schools and local authorities to use their powers to tackle unauthorised absence."

The increase in term-time holidays follows a widely-publicised court case last May in which father Jon Platt successfully overturned Isle of Wight Council’s fine, issued to him for taking his daughter out of school to visit Disney World during term-time.

Isle of Wight Council appealed against the verdict and Mr Platt's case went to the Supreme Court in January 2017, which reserved judgment.

Rules came into force in 2013 following concerns that some families saw going away during term-time as an entitlement.

If a school declares an absence unauthorised, the council can fine a parent £60 per child, which doubles to £120 if not paid within 21 days.

The figures also showed that the number of pupils classed as persistent absentees rose dramatically across the city, from 3,450 - 5.2 per cent in 2014/15 to 8,522 - 12.8 per cent.

Pupils are classed as persistent absentees if they miss 10 per cent of sessions.