Last year 2,580 children took time out for holidays, missing 11,783 schooldays.
The problem has become so serious that parents are now being offered discounts by travel agents to take their children away during the holidays.
Education, Sport and Culture’s senior education welfare officer, Brenda Cochrane1, said that parents would be offered the discounts as part of a scheme to reduce the amount of termtime leave being requested by families.
She said: ‘We recognise the value of a family holiday, particularly in these days when parents are working hard and life is so hectic.
Having the ability to relax and enjoy time with children is important, but children only attend school for 188 days a year.
They have 13 weeks of school holidays in which family holidays can be taken.
We are very keen to get the message across to parents that missing time from school can disadvantage children both academically and socially and should be avoided wherever possible.’