Levels of unauthorised absence were 1.46 per cent during the autumn term 2006 and spring term 2007. This compares to 1.41 per cent for the same period the previous year.
But overall levels of absence, including authorised absences, fell from 8.16 per cent to 7.76 per cent during the same period.
Martin Ward, deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the figures show schools are getting tougher and refusing to authorise absences that are not absolutely necessary. "They are sending a clear message to parents that allowing children to miss school disrupts learning."