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1. Background

Since 7 September 2020 we have been collecting and publishing daily aggregate information collected from local authorities on pupils who are present in school. At the same time we have been developing a pupil level collection which extracts data every week directly from school management information systems. Information from this collection is now ready to be published and from Wednesday 21 October 2020 will replace the publication of data from the aggregate daily collection.

2. Scope and coverage

The data is extracted directly from school management information systems. The data is collected from all maintained nursery, primary, middle, secondary and special schools and any pupil referral units that have such management information systems and routinely record their information electronically.

The data is collected once a week at the weekend and extracts the information recorded in school management information systems at that time. We do not ask schools to update their registers specifically for this collection and therefore the data extracted at the weekend may be incomplete or provisional for some schools and on some days (typically those days closest to the date we extracted the data). To account for this, we collect the data for every week in two different extracts. This allows school registers to be updated as normal by schools and for the published information to be updated (revised) at a later date with more accurate and complete data.

This new data also includes pupil details such as year group, gender, ethnic background and free school meal entitlement. We will be publishing pupils present by selected characteristics in the near future.

Further information on what we collect and what we do with it is contained in this privacy notice.

3. Definitions

The information in this release relates to pupils who were physically present on the school premises for at least one school session each day. Pupils who are learning from home due to Covid-19,including online learning, or are otherwise not on the school premises, are counted as ‘not present’ in this context. In these challenging circumstances this collection allows us to measure the number of pupils that do and do not have face to face contact with staff and other pupils at school.

The table below lists all school register codes and how they are used to calculate the statistics in this release.

Register codes
Register Code Description Pupils present (numerator) Number of pupils (denominator)
# School closed to all pupils No No
/ Present am Yes Yes
\ Present pm Yes Yes
B Educated off-site (not dual registration) No Yes
C Other authorised circumstances (not covered by another appropriate code/description) No Yes
D Dual registered (ie present at another school or at a PRU) No Yes
E Excluded but no alternative provision made No Yes
F Agreed extended family holiday No Yes
G Family holiday (not agreed or  in excess of agreement) No Yes
H Agreed family holiday No Yes
I Illness No Yes
J Interview No Yes
L Late but arrived before the register closed Yes Yes
M Medical or dental appointment No Yes
N No reason for the absence provided yet No Yes
O Other unauthorised (not covered by other codes or descriptions) No Yes
P Approved sporting activity No Yes
R Day set aside exclusively for religious observance No Yes
S Study leave No Yes
T Traveller absence No Yes
U Late and arrived after the register closed Yes Yes
V Educational visit or trip  No Yes
W Work experience (not work based training) No Yes
X Untimetabled sessions for non-compulsory school - age pupils No No
Y Partial and forced closure No Yes
Z Pupil not on roll yet No No
- Missing attendance mark No No

4. Comparability

This data from 21 October 2020 is not comparable to the data we have published every day since 7 September.

The main reason is that the data in this release is more up to date than that previously published and will include data that schools have updated since the original publication of that day’s data. It was not possible to collect updated data for every school in Wales using the previous data collection process.

There may also be some small definitional differences in how pupils under register codes L, U and X (see table above for definitions) are counted.

This data is also not comparable to the attendance data we have published in previous years for primary schools or secondary schools. This historical data counts sessions attended rather than counting pupils physically present in school. Historically pupils away from the school premises on approved educational activity have been counted as attending school but for the purposes of this release they are ‘not present’.

5. Other UK administrations

Data for England is published by the Department for Education.

Data for Scotland is published by the Scottish Government.

Data for Northern Ireland is published by the Department for Education.

This information is not comparable to the data published for Wales. Data for Scotland and Northern Ireland relates to school sessions attended and not to pupils. The data for England is collected from schools and any missing data is estimated. There are also definitional differences in the way that pupils not physically in school are counted by the different countries.

6. National Statistics

These statistics are not National Statistics and have been produced quickly in response to developing national and local events.