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Data on persistent absentees and absence by gender, ethnicity, free school meal entitlement and special educational needs for September 2017 to August 2018.

This data reports on absenteeism from schools by pupil characteristics. It uses pupil-level data that links data from the Pupils’ Attendance Record to pupil characteristics from the Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC), and covers the period 2012/13 to 2017/18.

Please be aware that the way in which pupils’ special educational needs are collected and recorded differs from previous years and so the figures are not directly comparable.

Persistent absentees

Persistent absentees are pupils who were absent for at least 20% of the number of half-day sessions that schools were open to pupils.

  • In 2017/18, 1.7% of pupils in primary schools were persistent absentees, an increase of 0.2 percentage points from 2016/17. Longer term the percentage has halved from the 3.4% in 2008/09.
  • For secondary schools, 4.1% of pupils were persistent absentees in 2017/18, slightly up by 0,1 percentage points since 2016/17. This percentage has more than halved from the 9.3% in 2008/09.
  • Carmarthenshire had the highest percentage of persistent absentees from primary schools in 2017/18, with Newport having the highest in secondary schools.
  • For all pupils, over half of all absences were due to illness, and around a quarter were for unauthorised reasons. Persistent absentees were more likely to be absent for unauthorised reasons.
  • For persistent absentees, the rate of unauthorised absence is higher at secondary schools than at primary schools.

Pupil characteristics

  • Persistent absenteeism and overall absence was more common among pupils entitled to free school meals and pupils with special educational needs.
  • Despite recent rises in absence rates for free school meal pupils, absence rates are still lower for them than they were in 2011/12.
  • Persistent absenteeism was higher amongst boys in primary schools but higher for girls in secondary schools.
  • Overall absence is lower amongst pupils from a black or Chinese ethnic background, and highest for pupils from a white background.


Datasets and interactive tools

Absenteeism from schools by pupil characteristics, September 2017 to August 2018: tables , file type: ODS, file size: 83 KB

83 KB
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