Week 41 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.

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.

This release covers the 2023/24 academic year from 11 September to 13 October 2023. National level figures are included in underlying data for the week commencing 4 September. For the full 2022/23 academic year and termly pupil absence data, including by characteristics, please see this historical publication

The figures are published as experimental official statistics to give an indicative figure for the absence rate during the 2023/24 academic year. A national level figure was published on 7 September 2023 and from 28 September 2023 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. The series was first published in 2022/23 and is 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, 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 include school level breakdowns). The National Statistics are updated termly, with the latest data published in October 2023  relating to the Autumn and Spring terms 2022/23 and next expected to be updated in March 2024 (full year 2022/23). 

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.

Schools can now use the ‘Compare your attendance’ dashboard to compare with other schools in the local authority. This has been updated to show data for this current academic year. Use it to compare absence and unauthorised absence for your school, as well as special educational needs and free school meals pupils. 


Headline facts and figures - 2023

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Latest data - week commencing 9 October 2023

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

The latest data relates to the week commencing 9 October 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 data catalogue 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.

The data shows that the attendance rate across the week for all schools was 93.7%, giving an overall absence rate of 6.3%. The absence rate varied across the week with a low of 5.9% on Wednesday, and a peak of 7.2% on Friday. The decrease in attendance on a Friday is in line with weekly patterns seen during 2022/23 and in historical attendance data.

Users should be aware of the following:

  • Response rate - 86% of schools shared data in the most recent week (though this has varied throughout the period of data collection), therefore national figures are estimates. Across school types this was: 88% of state-funded primary schools, 79% of state-funded secondary schools and 77% 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 2023 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.

Schools can now use the ‘Compare your attendance’ dashboard to compare with other schools in the local authority. This has been updated to show data for this current academic year. Use it to compare absence and unauthorised absence for your school, as well as special educational needs and free school meals pupils. 

Academic year to date

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

Data for the academic year 2023/24 relates to the period from 11 September 2023 to 13 October 2023. Data is available in the pupil attendance dashboard and the data catalogue 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 2023/24 year to date was 6.1%. Absence was 5.0% at the start of term, rising to 6.9% in the week commencing 25 September and subsequently falling to 6.6% in week commencing 2 October and 6.3% in week commencing 9 October. 

The majority of the change in absence has been driven by illness absence, however across the year to date there has been a small increase in unauthorised absence, from 2.0% in week commencing 11 September to 2.2% in week commencing 9 October.

Users should be aware of the following:

  • Response rate - 86% of schools shared data in the most recent week (though this has varied throughout the period of data collection), therefore national figures are estimates. Across school types this was: 88% of state-funded primary schools, 79% of state-funded secondary schools and 77% 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 2023 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.

Schools can now use the ‘Compare your attendance’ dashboard to compare with other schools in the local authority. This has been updated to show data for this current academic year. Use it to compare absence and unauthorised absence for your school, as well as special educational needs and free school meals pupils. 

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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Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays)