Access the Pupil attendance and absence in schools in England: data dashboard here
Data for the academic year 2022/23 relates to the period from 12 September 2022 to 21 July 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.
Overall absence during the 2022/23 academic year was 7.5%. Overall absence was 7.7% during the Autumn term, 7.1% during the Spring term and 7.8% during the Summer term.
Absence peaked at 14.1%, in the final full week of the Autumn term. This was up from the start of the academic year when it was 5.3% and the previous peak in the week prior to the Autumn half term when it was 7.3%. Absence rates fell at the start of the Spring term and were relatively stable between 6.0% and 8.2% throughout the term. Across the majority of the Summer term, absence rates were similar to that in the Spring term, ranging from 6.4% in the week commencing 8 May to a peak of 10.7% in the final week of the Summer term. There were additional peaks in absence during the week prior to the Summer half term (8.8%) and the week commencing 26 June (9.9%) when there was high absence due to religious observance around Eid al-Adha. The decrease in attendance prior to a period of holiday is in line with weekly patterns in historical attendance data.
The 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, as shown in UK Health Security Authority data.
Although it decreased following the Autumn term, illness absence (which includes positive COVID cases) remained higher than pre-pandemic levels, at 3.7% during Spring term and 3.0% during Summer term compared with around 2.5% pre-pandemic.
Persistent absence (pupils who miss 10% or more of their possible sessions) has also been impacted by illness absence rates which remain higher than pre-pandemic levels.
The persistent absence rate for the academic year 2022/23 is 22.3%. This represents a fall from 24.9% in the Autumn term and 24.3% in the Summer term, driven by a decrease in absence in the Spring term (where persistent absence was 21.0%).
UK Health Security Authority data shows that a number of illnesses all peaked at around the same time in December. Typically, illnesses are more spread across the season. Between the end of November and the end of December 2022, persistent absence increased from 21.7% to 24.9%. In Autumn 2022, 13.4% of pupils were persistently absent solely due to illness, a large increase on 5% in Autumn 2019. Although it decreased following the Autumn term, illness absence rates during Spring term were still higher than pre-pandemic levels and 9.6% of pupils were persistently absent solely due to illness during Spring 2023.
Whilst persistent absence in Autumn 2022 was higher than the previous year, driven by illness, there was a sharp fall in pupils persistently not attending. This reflects that in Autumn 2020 and Autumn 2021, pupils were being recorded as not attending due to reasons related to coronavirus (e.g. where isolating). Including these sessions shows that there has been a drop in pupils not attending 10% or more sessions overall, from 44.6% in 2020, 32.2% in 2021 to 24.9% in 2022.
Of the cohort who were persistently absent in 2022/23, 32.9% had at least one day of absence in the first week of term and of those who had at least one day of absence in the first week of term, 55.5% went on to be persistently absent.
Free school meals (FSM)
The overall absence rate for pupils who are eligible for free school meals is 11.4% across the academic year 2022/23. This compares to 6.2% for those pupils who were not eligible for free school meals.
37.9% of pupils who were eligible for free school meals were persistently absent across the academic year 2022/23, compared to 16.7% of pupils who were not eligible.
Special educational needs (SEN)
The overall absence rate for pupils with an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) is 13.3% across the academic year 2022/23. This compares to 11.1% for pupils with SEN support and 6.9% with no identified SEN.
37.8% of pupils with an EHCP were persistently absent in this period, compared to 33.4% for pupils with SEN support and 20.2% for pupils with no identified SEN.
The overall absence rate for boys was 7.4% and for girls was 7.6%, while persistent absence was 22.6% for girls and 22.0% for boys respectively.
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: 80% of state-funded primary schools, 71% of state-funded secondary schools and 69% of state-funded special schools. Due to data only being representative of those schools currently participating in daily data sharing, it is possible there may be some differences.
- 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.