Week 39 2022

Pupil attendance in schools

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See all updates (2) for Week 39 2022
  1. Correction to denominator in response rate calculation for Gateshead and Northumberland local authorities

  2. Correction to schools from West Northamptonshire and North Northamptonshire displaying as Northamptonshire local authority

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Introduction

These figures are derived from regular data automatically submitted to the Department for Education (DfE) by participating schools. The data is submitted on a daily basis and includes the attendance codes for each pupil on their registers during the morning and afternoon sessions.

The figures are published as experimental official statistics to give an indicative figure for the absence rate during the 2022/23 academic year. A national level figure was published on 8 September 2022 and from 29 September 2022 the pupil attendance dashboard will be updated fortnightly, providing aggregate metrics on overall absence and reasons for absence estimated at national, regional and local authority level only. These are intended to continue the series that was previously sourced from the daily Educational Settings Survey (EdSet). Due to the timeliness of the data and that they are based on a subset of schools, the figures are estimates that we expect to change as registers are adjusted. They should be viewed as an early indicator for the more detailed but less regular National Statistics on pupil absence (which will include school level breakdowns). The termly National Statistics will also be published on this page in May 2023 (Autumn term 2022/23), October 2023 (Autumn and Summer term 2022/23) and March 2024 (full year 2022/23). 

The figures relate to the attendance of 5 to 15 year old (i.e. compulsory school age) pupils in state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in England.

For further information see the ‘Methodology’ section.

If you are a school that has not yet signed up to share your data, please visit Share your daily school attendance data for more information. This will also give you, your local authority and your multi-academy trust (if applicable) access to daily attendance reports to help identify pupils needing attendance support earlier.


Headline facts and figures - 2022

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First week of the 2022/23 academic year

Attendance of pupils expected to be back in state-funded primary, secondary and schools on Tuesday 6 September was 95%. Across schools types this was:

  • 95% in state-funded primary schools
  • 94% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 89% in state-funded special schools

Users should be aware of the following:

  • Response rate - As at 6 September 2022, 65% of schools have opted-in to submitting data, therefore national figures are estimates. On 6 September 2022, on which these figures are based, DfE received data from 61% of all schools. The lower response rate reflects how some schools operate inset days on their first days back and so may not have turned on their school registers. The response rate for schools whose first day back was expected to be Thursday 1 September was 64% and 56% for those expected to be back on Monday 5 September. In recognition that response rates are not equal across school types and, therefore, not representative of the total school population, the overall absence figure for all schools has been weighted based on the Spring 2022 school census. Response rates for state-funded primary, secondary and special schools were 62%, 58% and 47% respectively.
  • Inset days and phased returns - Schools may run inset days on the first days back of a new term. Additionally, some may use phased returns, particularly in secondary school, which see individual year groups return a day ahead of others. The data allows us to infer when schools are operating this way and the figures only consider pupils who were expected to attend on the day. The data suggests that 942 schools (7%) were still operating inset days, 263 schools (2%) phased returns and 339 (3%) half days. 
  • Reporting lag - Schools update their registers continually and attendance codes change, resulting in absence rates for a particular day to decrease over time. The figures above, therefore, may change in future iterations of the time series.

Given the uncertainties as a result of the above, data for week commencing 5 September 2022 is not included in the pupil attendance dashboard. National level estimates covering the week commencing 5 September 2022, however, can be found in the “Explore data and files” section of this page. 

If you are a school that has not yet signed up to share your data, please visit Share your daily school attendance data for more information. This will also give you, your local authority and your multi-academy trust (if applicable) access to daily attendance reports to help identify pupils needing attendance support earlier.

Latest data - week commencing 26 September 2022

Access the Pupil attendance and absence in schools in England: data dashboard here

The latest data relates to the week commencing 26 September 2022 and is available in the pupil attendance dashboard. Data is collected on a daily basis and data for the interim weeks between publications is included in year-to-date figures and is available on a daily and weekly basis in the underlying data available on this page (see “Explore data and files”). 

The dashboard displays attendance and absence headline figures, and reasons for absence at national, regional and local authority geographic levels. Data is available across primary, secondary and special schools and can be broken down by individual school type.

Attendance rates

The data shows that the attendance rate across the week for all schools was 93.5%, giving an overall absence rate of 6.5%. The attendance rate varied across the week with a peak of 94.0% on Wednesday, before a decline to 92.8% on Friday. This is in line with weekly patterns in historical data, that also show a decrease in attendance on a Friday.

By school type, the attendance rate across the week was:

  • 95.1% in state-funded primary schools
  • 91.6% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 87.7% in state-funded special schools

Absence rates

Authorised absence across the week was 4.6% and by school type this was:

  • 3.6% in state-funded primary schools
  • 5.7% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 9.6% in state-funded special schools

Authorised absence across the week was 2.0% and by school type this was:

  • 1.3% in state-funded primary schools
  • 2.8% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 2.7% in state-funded special schools

Absence has increased since the start of term (week commencing 12 September), from 5.4% to 6.5%. This is driven by the increase in illness absence, from 2.6% to 3.6%. Overall absence has increased the most in secondary schools (from 6.5% to 8.4%), followed by special schools (from 10.6% to 12.3%). Absence in primary schools has risen from 4.4% to 4.9%.

Users should be aware of the following:

  • Response rate - 69% of schools have opted-in to submitting data, therefore national figures are estimates. Across school types this was: 71% of state-funded primary schools, 65% of state-funded secondary schools and 57% of state-funded special schools.
  • Estimates for non-response - In recognition that response rates are not equal across school types and, therefore, not representative of the total school population, the total rates for all schools has been weighted based on the Spring 2022 school census. 
  • Reporting lag - Schools update their registers continually and attendance codes change, resulting in absence rates for a particular day to decrease over time. Analysis of data from the Summer 2022 term suggests that this could be a decrease in the absence rate of around 1 percentage point before settling down. Historical figures will be recalculated in each publication.

If you are a school that has not yet signed up to share your data, please visit Share your daily school attendance data for more information. This will also give you, your local authority and your multi-academy trust (if applicable) access to daily attendance reports to help identify pupils needing attendance support earlier.

Academic year to date

Access the Pupil attendance and absence in schools in England: data dashboard here

Data for the year to date relates to the period from 12 September 2022 to 30 September 2022. Data is available in the pupil attendance dashboard and the underlying data available on this page (see “Explore data and files”). The dashboard displays attendance and absence headline figures, and reasons for absence at national, regional and local authority geographic levels. Data is available across primary, secondary and special schools and can be broken down by individual school type.

Attendance rates

The data shows that the attendance rate across the period from 12 September 2022 to 30 September 2022 was 93.9%, giving an overall absence rate of 6.1%. 

By school type, the attendance rate across the year to date was:

  • 95.2% in state-funded primary schools
  • 92.4% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 88.4% in state-funded special schools

Absence rates

By school type, the authorised absence rate across the year to date was:

  • 3.4% in state-funded primary schools
  • 4.9% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 8.9% in state-funded special schools

By school type, the unauthorised absence rate across the year to date was:

  • 1.4% in state-funded primary schools
  • 2.7% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 2.7% in state-funded special schools

Users should be aware of the following:

  • Response rate - 69% of schools have opted-in to submitting data (though note that this has varied across the year), therefore national figures are estimates. Across school types this was: 71% of state-funded primary schools, 65% of state-funded secondary schools and 57% of state-funded special schools.
  • Estimates for non-response - In recognition that response rates are not equal across school types and, therefore, not representative of the total school population, the total rates for all schools has been weighted based on the Spring 2022 school census. 
  • Reporting lag - Schools update their registers continually and attendance codes change, resulting in absence rates for a particular day to decrease over time. Analysis of data from the Summer 2022 term suggests that this could be a decrease in the absence rate of around 1 percentage point before settling down. Historical figures will be recalculated in each publication.

If you are a school that has not yet signed up to share your data, please visit Share your daily school attendance data for more information. This will also give you, your local authority and your multi-academy trust (if applicable) access to daily attendance reports to help identify pupils needing attendance support earlier.

Help and support

Methodology

Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these statistics.

Experimental statistics

These statistics are experimental statistics undergoing evaluation. They have been developed under the guidance of the Head of Profession for Statistics and published to involve users and stakeholders at an early stage in assessing their suitability and quality.

Experimental official statistics have been produced as far as possible in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

Contact us

If you have a specific enquiry about Pupil attendance in schools statistics and data:

School Census Statistics Team

Email: schools.statistics@education.gov.uk
Contact name: School Census Statistics Team

Press office

If you have a media enquiry:

Telephone: 020 7783 8300

Public enquiries

If you have a general enquiry about the Department for Education (DfE) or education:

Telephone: 037 0000 2288

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