Pupils: Absenteeism

Department for Education written question – answered on 9th July 2021.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Conservative, Tatton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on student absenteeism, by (a) primary school, (b) secondary school and (c) local authority in each of the last three years.

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Conservative, Tatton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what information his Department holds on student absenteeism, by (a) number of school days absent and (b) reasons for absence in each of the last three years.

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Conservative, Tatton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a statutory obligation on local authorities to collate and submit data on student absenteeism to central Government.

Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Conservative, Tatton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what definition of student absenteeism is used to record data on student absence.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Information relating to pupil absence in school is collected on a termly basis from schools via the school census. Completion of the school census is a statutory requirement under section 537A of the Education Act 1996. Guidance on what is collected on termly attendance, including the full list of absence reasons, can be found at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/complete-the-school-census/data-items.

The overall absence rates for state-funded primary and secondary schools in England, by local authority, for academic years 2016/17 to 2018/19, can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/99898173-7d81-4132-b9c7-9ef5695e425a.

The number of sessions of absence, by reason for absence, in state-funded primary and secondary schools, and special schools in England for academic years 2016/17 to 2018/19, can be found here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/35b2b378-982d-4220-a992-26c678bb3e18. A session refers to half a day.

Data is also published in the publication ‘Pupil absence in schools in England’, which gives information by academic years and is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england.

There are similar publications on absence in the autumn term, and absence in the autumn and spring terms. The latest release covering autumn term 2020 can be found at the following link: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/pupil-absence-in-schools-in-england-autumn-term.

Information has also been collected daily on attendance in schools and nurseries during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is available here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

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