The number of unauthorised absences in Bexley secondary schools has been revealed in new data.

In 2024, the spring term began the same week as New Year’s Day, and this was the week with the highest number of absences since the start of this academic year.

The data shows absences from the week commencing September 11, 2023, through to February 5, 2024.

On the week commencing January 1, 2024, there was an unauthorised absence rate of 7.4 per cent in Bexley secondary schools.

This means that 7.4 per cent of Bexley secondary schools pupils were off school during this week for reasons not agreed to by the school.

The week with the second highest number of pupils was the week commencing February 5, 2024, when 3.05 per cent of pupils were absent for unauthorised reasons.

On the other hand, the first week of the academic year (the week commencing September 11) had the lowest number of unauthorised absences.

Only 1.96 per cent of pupils were absent without authorisation that week.

Closely behind was the second week of term, when 2.0 per cent of pupils were absent.

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.