School pupils miss more lessons as sickness rises


School pupils missed more lessons last year, official figures show.

The overall absence rate across state-funded primary and secondary schools increased slightly from 4.4% in autumn/spring 2013/14 to 4.5% in autumn/spring 2014/15, Government data indicates.

But the percentage of pupils who are, or may become, persistent absentees decreased slightly, and the amount of unauthorised absence remained unchanged at 0.9%.

Officials said the rise in overall absence was driven by an increase in illness - the most common reason for missing school.

Fewer days were lost by pupils missing school to go on holiday. Family holidays - both authorised and unauthorised - accounted for 5.6% of all absences in autumn/spring 2014/15 compared to 6.9% in autumn/spring 2013/14.