This document describes the data included in the ‘Pupil absence in schools in England: Autumn term 2020/21’ National Statistics release’s underlying data files. This data is released under the terms of the Open Government License and is intended to meet at least 3 stars for Open Data.
The absence methodology document should be referenced alongside this data. It provides information on the data sources, their coverage and quality as well as explaining methodology used in producing the data.
This release provides information on the levels of overall, authorised and unauthorised absence in:
state-funded primary schools
state-funded secondary schools
It includes information on:
reasons for absence
separate absence information for pupil referral units (including alternative provision academies and free schools)
The information is based on pupil level absence data collected via the school census.
The underlying data files include national, regional and local authority absence information from autumn 2006 to autumn 2020 for England. School level absence data is included from autumn 2016 to autumn 2020. Termly absence data has been collected from special schools from autumn 2016 and appears in the underlying data from that point. Data from autumn 2006 to autumn 2015 cover primary and secondary schools only.
File formats and conventions
Rounding and Suppression
This dataset has not had suppression applied. Rates are presented to one decimal place in the report but are unrounded in the underlying data files
The following convention is used throughout the underlying data.
‘:’ Not available.
‘z’ Not applicable
All data files associated with this releases are listed below with guidance on their content. To download any of these files, please visit our data catalogue.
01 - Absence rates by geographic level
Local Authority; National; Regional
2006/07 Autumn Term to 2020/21 Autumn Term
Absence information for all enrolments in state-funded primary, secondary and special schools including information on overall absence, persistent absence and reason for absence for pupils aged 5-15.
National, Regional and Local Authority data from 2006/07.
School data is included from 2016/17. Primary and secondary only before 2016/17.
Variable names and descriptions
Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:
Number of pupil enrolments
Number of persistent absentees
Percentage of persistent absentees
Number of schools
School type - Filter by school type - Total includes primary, secondary and special
Number of medical appointments sessions
Medical appointments rate
Number of excluded sessions
Number of extended authorised holiday sessions
Extended authorised holiday rate
Number of authorised holiday sessions
Authorised holiday rate
Number of illness sessions
Number of authorised other sessions
Authorised other rate
Number of religious observance sessions
Religious observance rate
Number of study leave sessions
Study leave rate
Number of authorised reasons sessions
Authorised reasons rate
Number of traveller sessions
Number of authorised absence sessions
Authorised absence rate
Number of overall absence sessions
Overall absence rate
Number of overall reasons sessions
Overall reasons rate
Number of sessions possible
Number of unauthorised holiday sessions
Unauthorised holiday rate
Number of late sessions
Number of no reason yet sessions
No reason yet rate
Number of unauthorised other sessions
Unauthorised other rate
Number of unauthorised reasons sessions
Unauthorised reasons rate
Number of unauthorised absence sessions
Unauthorised absence rate
Number of sessions recorded as not attending due to COVID circumstances
Rate of sessions recorded as not attending due to COVID circumstances
Number of sessions recorded as exceptional circumstances
Total includes state-funded primary, secondary and special schools. Data for special schools is available from 2016/17 to present.
Total includes state-funded primary and secondary schools. Does not include special schools. Available from 2006/07 to present (data for special schools is available from 2016/17 onwards).
Sessions recorded as not attending due to COVID circumstances are included as possible sessions but not as an absence within absence rates.