THOUSANDS of days have been missed at Oxfordshire schools by pupils who skipped class to go on holiday.

As reported in today's Oxford Mail, the number of unauthorised absences due to term-time holidays continues to rise - and most Oxfordshire parents are not being fined for flouting the rules.


The statistics relate to the 2017-18 academic year and most schools in the county have chosen not to punish parents with a £60 fine. 

Below is a list of the 10 Oxfordshire schools with the most missed 'sessions' due to unauthorised absences that year, for children aged five-15, according to new Department for Education data.

A 'session' is effectively a half day - schools take a register in the morning and afternoon, so a missed session means that a pupil has not been present during that register-taking.

The sessions could have been missed by a small minority of pupils taking long trips, particularly if one family has several children at the same school, or a combination of short trips taken by more pupils. 

Most of them are secondary schools or large primaries, which naturally might skew comparison as they have more pupils on roll and more opportunities for missed sessions.

  • Lord Williams's School, Thame: 1,611
  • The Cherwell School, Oxford: 1,478
  • St Gregory the Great Catholic School, Oxford: 1,442
  • The Cooper School, Bicester: 1,318
  • King's Meadow Primary School, Bicester: 1,236
  • Manor School, Didcot: 1,214
  • Oxford Spires Academy: 1,197
  • Cheney School: 1,153
  • Langford Village Community School: 1,147
  • St Christopher's Church of England School, Cowley: 1,100

Last year several Oxford headteachers told the Oxford Mail that absence due to unauthorised holiday was not necessarily just families going on leisurely trips abroad, but sometimes going to visit relatives for an important occasion in a different continent.

Though schools might be able to authorise a couple of days due to a family funeral abroad, for example, the cost and time of travelling to that place might merit a longer trip, meaning the days either side might be logged as unauthorised.

An earlier version of this article presented a different top 10, we are happy to clarify the correct statistics above