For 2020/21, not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus (COVID-19) is not counted as an absence, but is included as a possible session in the calculation of absence rates. This includes pupils self-isolating and shielding, including when a class or bubble has been required to stay at home. During these sessions, pupils were expected to not attend or were prohibited from attending and so they are treated separately and not counted toward the overall absence rate and persistent absence rates.
Free School Meals eligibility (FSM)
Pupils eligible for FSM had 8.5% of sessions recorded as not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus, compared to 6.6% for pupils not eligible for FSM.
FSM eligible pupils had an overall absence rate of 7.8%, compared to 3.8% for non-FSM pupils. In Autumn 2019 the rates were 7.6% for FSM eligible pupils and 4.3% for pupils not eligible for FSM.
24.1% of FSM eligible pupils were persistently absent in Autumn 2020, compared to 9.6% of pupils not eligible for FSM. In Autumn 2019 the rates were 23.8% and 10.5%.
Rates were slightly lower for those who were FSM eligible at some point in the last six years.
Special Educational Needs (SEN)
Pupils with SEN had higher rates of absence, persistent absenteeism and not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus.
For pupils with an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, 8.6% of sessions were recorded as not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus. This compares to 7.4% for pupils with SEN support and 6.8% with no SEN.
The overall absence rate for pupils with an EHC plan was 9.4%, compared to 6.6% for pupils with SEN support and 4.1% with no SEN. These were broadly similar to Autumn 2019.
Persistent absence was also higher for pupils with SEN. For pupils with an EHC plan the persistent absentee rate was 25.6% and 19.3% for those with SEN support, compared to 11.1% with no SEN. These rates are slightly lower than Autumn 2019.
Pupils of the Gypsy/Roma and Pakistani ethnic groups had the highest rates of sessions recorded as not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus in Autumn 2020, at 10.9% and 10.8% respectively. This compares to 7.0% across all pupils. Pupils of the Chinese ethnic group had the lowest rate at 6.1%.
Traveller of Irish Heritage and Gypsy/Roma pupils had the highest rates of overall absence at 24.1% and 18.6% respectively, up from 17.0% and 13.0% in Autumn 2019. Chinese and Black African pupils had the lowest overall absence rates at 2.7% and 3.1% respectively.
56.7% of pupils from the Traveller of Irish Heritage ethnic group were persistently absent in Autumn 2020 and 52.6% of Gypsy/Roma pupils. These were the ethnic groups with the highest rates of persistent absence in Autumn 2019.
National curriculum year group
Pupils in year group 10 had the highest rate of sessions recorded as not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus (apart from pupils outside the normal year group structure) at 10.0%. Year group 3 had the lowest at 5.4%.
Pupils in year group 11 had the highest overall absence rate at 6.9%. The lowest were year groups 2 and 3 at 3.5%. In Autumn 2019 the highest rates were year groups 10 and 11 at 6.5%, the lowest were year groups 3 and 4 at 4.1%.
Persistent absence rates ranged from 8.9% in year group 3 to 19.3% in year group 11.
Boys and girls had similar rates recorded as not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus, at 7.0% and 6.9% respectively. For boys and girls overall absence rates were 4.7% and 4.6% respectively, persistent absence at 13.2% and 12.8% respectively.