Daily Mail

Five million school days are lost due to holidays

- By Connor Stringer

MORE than five million school days were lost last year by parents taking their children out of school for termtime holidays, figures show.

Sun-seeking parents were yesterday accused of ‘valuing a passport to Majorca’ over their children’s future.

A staggering 5,148,548 school days were lost through ‘unauthoris­ed term-time holidays’ in the 2021/22 school year, analysis of Department for Education (DfE) data shows.

By comparison, 3,651,978 days were lost to unauthoris­ed termlearni­ng time trips during the 2015/16 academic year.

Primary school children were more than twice as likely to be taken out of school for a term-time holiday than secondary school pupils, sparking fresh calls to clamp down on parents who persistent­ly break the rules.

Frank Young, editorial director at the Civitas think-tank, which analysed the data, said: ‘Too many parents aren’t taking school seriously. Even missing a day or two has an impact.

‘It is worrying that the youngest primary school children are most likely to miss school just as they are to read and write. Ministers will need to get a grip of this as they urgently review truancy measures later this year.’

Chris McGovern, a former education policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher, said parents were setting a ‘bad example’ to their children.

‘Parents are valuing a passport to Majorca rather than a passport to the future,’ he said. ‘Really good parents shouldn’t be taking their children out of school because it does damage them.’

DfE figures also show that 22.5 per cent of pupils at special schools and state-funded primaries and secondarie­s in England were persistent­ly absent in the 2021/22 school year, losing the equivalent of at least 19 days of teaching. The figures include authorised, unauthoris­ed and positive Covid test absences.

It comes after Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children’s Commission­er, said a ‘huge’ number of children were skipping school on Fridays because they were copying parents who work from home.

A DfE spokesman said: ‘The vast majority of children are in school and learning. We work closely with schools, trusts, governing bodies and local authoritie­s to identify pupils who are at risk of becoming or who are persistent­ly absent and to support those children to return to regular education.’

‘Missing a day or two has an impact’

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