Week 2 2023

Pupil attendance in schools

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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 has been 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 - 2023

The attendance rate was 93.9% across all schools in the week commencing 9 January 2023. The absence rate was, therefore, 6.1% across all schools.

Absence rate increase towards the end of the Autumn term was driven by illness, which during week commencing 12 December 2022 was 9.1%, up from 2.6% at the start of the term. In the week commencing 9 January 2023, illness absence had fallen to 3%. Increase in illness absence at the end of the Autumn term was in line with increases in rates of seasonal flu and other seasonal respiratory illnesses.

By school type, the absence rates across the week commencing 9 January 2023 were:

  • 4.7% in state-funded primary schools (3.2% authorised and 1.4% unauthorised)
  • 7.8% in state-funded secondary schools (4.6% authorised and 3.2% unauthorised)
  • 11.7% in state-funded special schools (8.6% authorised and 3.1% unauthorised)

The data shows that the attendance rate across the academic year to date was 92.3%. The absence rate was, therefore, 7.7% across all schools.

By school type, the absence rates across the year to date were:

  • 6.3% in state-funded primary schools (4.8% authorised and 1.5% unauthorised)
  • 9.2% in state-funded secondary schools (6.1% authorised and 3.1% unauthorised)
  • 13.3% in state-funded special schools (10.3% authorised and 3% unauthorised)

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Latest data - week commencing 9 January 2023

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

The latest data relates to the week commencing 9 January 2023 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 93.9%, giving an overall absence rate of 6.1%. The attendance rate varied across the week with a peak of 94.2% on Wednesday, before a decline to 93.2% on Friday. The decrease in attendance on a Friday is in line with weekly patterns in historical data

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

  • 95.3% in state-funded primary schools
  • 92.2% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 88.3% in state-funded special schools

Absence rates

Absence rate increase towards the end of the Autumn term was driven by illness, which during week commencing 12 December 2022 was 9.1%, up from 2.6% at the start of the term. In the week commencing 9 January 2023, illness absence had fallen to 3%. Increase in illness absence at the end of the Autumn term was in line with increases in rates of seasonal flu and other seasonal respiratory illnesses.

Overall absence has increased the most in secondary schools (from 6.4% at the start of term to 7.8% in the most recent week) followed by special schools (from 10.6% to 11.7%). Absence in primary schools has risen from 4.4% to 4.7%.

Authorised absence across the week was 3.9% and by school type this was:

  • 3.2% in state-funded primary schools
  • 4.6% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 8.6% in state-funded special schools

Unauthorised absence across the week was 2.2% and by school type this was:

  • 1.4% in state-funded primary schools
  • 3.2% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 3.1% in state-funded special schools

Users should be aware of the following:

  • Response rate - 78% 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: 79% of state-funded primary schools, 71% of state-funded secondary schools and 67% 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.

Autumn term 2022/23

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

Data for the Autumn term relates to the period from 12 September 2022 to 16 December 2022.

Trends across the Autumn term

Absence increased towards the end of the Autumn term. In the week commencing 12 December 2022 absence was 14.3%, up from the start of term (week commencing 12 September 2022) when it was 5.4% and the previous peak in the week prior to half term (week commencing 17 October 2022) when it was 7.4%. These changes were mostly driven by illness absence, with illness absence increasing from 2.6% to 9.1% from week commencing 12 September 2022 to week commencing 12 December 2022. This was in line with increases in rates of seasonal flu and other seasonal respiratory illnesses.

Attendance rates

The data shows that the attendance rate across the period from 12 September 2022 to 16 December 2023 was 92.2%, giving an overall absence rate of 7.8%.

By school type, the attendance rate across the Autumn term was:

  • 93.5% in state-funded primary schools
  • 90.7% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 86.5% in state-funded special schools

Absence rates

By school type, the authorised absence rate across the Autumn term was:

  • 5.0% in state-funded primary schools
  • 6.3% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 10.5% in state-funded special schools

By school type, the unauthorised absence rate across the Autumn term was:

  • 1.5% in state-funded primary schools
  • 3.1% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 2.9% in state-funded special schools

Users should be aware of the following:

  • Response rate - 78% 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: 79% of state-funded primary schools, 71% of state-funded secondary schools and 67% 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 2022/23

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 13 January 2023. 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.

Trends across the year

Absence peaked at 14.3%, in the final full week of the Autumn term (week commencing 12 December 2022), up from the start of the academic year (week commencing 12 September 2022) when it was 5.4% and the previous peak in the week prior to the Autumn half term (week commencing 17 October) when it was 7.4%. Absence has fallen since the end of the Autumn term and was 6.1% in the week commencing 09 January 2023. Increase in illness absence at the end of the Autumn term was in line with increases in rates of seasonal flu and other seasonal respiratory illnesses.

Attendance rates

The data shows that the attendance rate across the period from 12 September 2022 to 13 January 2023 was 92.3%, giving an overall absence rate of 7.7%.

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

  • 93.7% in state-funded primary schools
  • 90.8% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 86.7% in state-funded special schools

Absence rates

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

  • 4.8% in state-funded primary schools
  • 6.1% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 10.3% in state-funded special schools

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

  • 1.5% in state-funded primary schools
  • 3.1% in state-funded secondary schools
  • 3% in state-funded special schools

Users should be aware of the following:

  • Response rate - 78% 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: 79% of state-funded primary schools, 71% of state-funded secondary schools and 67% 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

Telephone: School Census Statistics Team
0370 000 2288

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If you have a media enquiry:

Telephone
020 7783 8300

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

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