Pupils: Absenteeism

Northern Ireland written question – answered on 5th March 2007.

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Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon UUP, North Down

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many incidences of unauthorised absence were recorded in each education and library board area in Northern Ireland in each of the last six years; and what advice was provided by his Department for schools on dealing with persistent cases.

Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)

Information on unauthorised absence has only been collated since 2003-04. The figures for 2005-06 have not yet been compiled, but should be available within the next few weeks.

Incidences( 1) of unauthorised absence by education and library board, 2003-04—2004-05
Academic year
2003-04 2004-05
Board Incidences of unauthorised absence Incidences of unauthorised absence as a percentage of all possible attendance sessions Incidences of unauthorised absence Incidences of unauthorised absence as a percentage of all possible attendance sessions
Belfast 290,492 2.8 266,158 2.3
Western 233,333 2.5 283,982 2.8
North Eastern 233,691 2.0 254,035 2.0
South Eastern 207,860 2.2 198,020 2.0
Southern 322,734 2.7 311,282 2.5
(1) A pupil's attendance status is recorded twice over the course of the day, by monitoring during the morning and afternoon session. Thus, a pupil who is absent for a full day is recorded as having two incidences of absence.

Responsibility to ensure regular attendance at school rests primarily with parents. When a school has concerns about a pupil's attendance, a referral can be made to the Education Welfare Service (EWS). This service provides advice for schools in dealing with persistent non-attenders.

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