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Absenteeism from secondary schools

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  • Release date: 30 August 2018
  • Period covered: 2007/08 to 2017/18
An annual report showing data on authorised and unauthorised absenteeism by pupils of compulsory school age, including information on school type, gender, free school meal eligibility and length of absence.

Statistics relate to the period September to May for the academic years 2007/08 to 2017/18. The latest release updates the statistics previously released on 31 August 2017.

Key points

  • In 2017/18, 6.2 per cent of half-day school sessions were missed due to overall absence and 1.6 per cent of half-day school sessions were missed due to unauthorised absence from maintained secondary, special and independent schools.
  • In general, overall absence has been falling since 2007/08. In 2017/18, overall absenteeism increased by 0.3 percentage points since the previous year. Unauthorised absenteeism increased by 0.2 percentage points over 2017/18, but if you compare it with 2007/08, over nine years it has decreased by 0.2 percentage points.
  • The percentage of persistent absentees in mainstream secondary schools increased by 0.1 percentage points in 2016/17. However, it is now less than half of what it was eight years ago, showing a drop of 5.2 percentage points from 9.3 per cent in 2008/09 to 4.1 per cent in 2017/18.
  • Illness was the most common reason for absence in 2017/18. 


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