New figures have revealed the number of unauthorised absences at schools in Lewisham.

In 2024, many schools started their spring term on the same week as New Years Day, and data shows that unauthorised absences across these schools were highest in Lewisham during the first week back after Christmas.

During that week, the absence rate for Lewisham primary schools was, on average, 9.5 per cent, while it was 4.4 per cent in Lewisham secondary schools, and 3.59 per cent in special schools.

As of February 5, the absence rate for Lewisham primary and special schools has dropped to 2 per cent and 3.34 per cent respectively, while it’s risen to 4.61 per cent in Lewisham secondary schools.

These figures are automatically submitted to the Department of Education (DfE) by participating schools.

The figures also relate to the attendance of pupils in state-funded primary, secondary, and special schools in England for the current academic year (2023/24) from September 11 to February 9, 2024.

An unauthorised absence refers to a child's absence from school without proper permission or justification, which can result in penalties, such as fines.

There are many reasons why parents might take their children out of school in the middle of the school year, with one being to avoid peak holiday costs.