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Absenteeism from secondary schools

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  • Release date: 31 August 2016
  • Period covered: 2006/07 to 2015/16
  • Next update: 31 August 2017
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.

Key points

  • In 2015/16, 5.8 per cent of half-day school sessions were missed due to overall absence and 1.3 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 2006/07. In 2015/16, overall absenteeism continued to fall, dropping by 0.3 percentage points since the previous year. Although unauthorised absenteeism has not changed between 2012/13 and 2015/16, if you compare it with 2007/08, over eight years it has decreased by 0.5 percentage points.
  • The percentage of persistent absentees in mainstream secondary schools has decreased every year since 2008/09. It is now less than half what it was seven years ago, showing a drop of 5.4 percentage points from 9.3 per cent in 2008/09 to 3.9 per cent in 2015/16.
  • Illness was the most common reason for absence in 2015/16.


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