Croydon secondary schools have the most unauthorised absences in South London since September 2023, according to figures.

Absence rates were highest during the first week back after Christmas, which began on the week commencing Monday, January 1, 2024, where the rate was 7.23 per cent.

On the week commencing February 5, 2024, the absence rate was at its second highest with 5.08 per cent of pupils absent.

Croydon had the highest percentage of unauthorised absences since September 11, 2023, with an average of 3.72 per cent, while Sutton had the lowest with an average of just 1.58 per cent.

Lewisham has had the second most unauthorised absences since September 11, 2023, with an average of 3.21 per cent.

An unauthorised absence is when a child is absent from school without the school’s permission, which can result in penalties, such as fines.

These figures came from data submitted by participating schools to the Department for Education (DfE).

The data is submitted daily and includes the attendance codes for each pupil on their registers during the morning and afternoon sessions.

The figures show the percentage of pupils who missed school without the school’s permission from between September 11, 2023, and February 9, 2024, during the 2023/24 school year.

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.

Croydon Council was approached for comment.