Thousands of children are persistently missing school in Leeds, new figures show, with the city also having the highest figures for the region for the number of term time holidays.
The Dep for Education figures, released yesterday, show that 183,939 school sessions were missed in Leeds in the Autumn term.
While the rate of absence was higher in places such as Doncaster and Sheffield, they showed that Leeds has the highest number of sessions missed through children being on unauthorised holiday.
“Missing school has a direct impact on children’s education and life chances,” said Ian Stevenson, regional TUC secretary for the Yorkshire and Midlands region.
“Clearly, the impact of these children missing school will be at the detriment of their education.
“Term time holidays will be a factor. For families on a low income and who want to go on holiday, they simply can’t afford the prices that holiday companies use to exploit the demand at peak times.”
Steve Walker, director for children’s services at Leeds City Council, said improving attendance is a key priority.
“The importance of attending school cannot be underestimated and the more a child takes a full and active part in school, the more chance they have to develop and reach their potential.
“Missing out on lessons leaves children vulnerable to falling behind. Children with poor attendance tend to achieve less in both primary and secondary school.
“Everyone needs to take responsibility for attendance and we will continue to support schools and parents to ensure that children attend school regularly and benefit from taking a full and active part in daily school life.”