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10.2% of pupils are classed as persistent absentees (missing at least 10% of sessions in 2018/19. This is down from 11.2% or 783,425 pupils in 2017/18. Of these, 60,247 miss 50% or more. This is up from 53,700 pupils in 2017/18.


persistent absentees

33.2% of all persistent absentees in 2018/19 are eligible for Free School Meals. 

This is up 17,462 on the figures for 2017/18.


pupils are on
Free School Meals

Absence must be recorded under one of 23 codes. However several codes (O, N and C) give the reason as ‘other’ or ‘no reason yet’. 42.8% (330,357 sessions) of all persistent absence in 2018/19 is recorded under these codes. This is up from 40.7% in 2017/18.


of absences have no known reason

54,081 of persistent absentees in 2018/19 have an EHCP.

Whilst this is only 7% of all persistent absentees, it is a far more significant proportion (22.2%) of all pupils aged
5-15 years with an EHCP.


pupils have an EHCP or are on SEN support

335,375 of all pupils have missed 25 days or more of school in 2018/19, up nearly 10,000 on the previous year. 

60,247 have missed 50% or more, up from 53,700 in 2017/18.


pupils miss 50%
or more

Anxiety is a common trigger for non-attendance. It can be a result of bullying, trauma or unsupported SEND. 1:8 pupils or roughly three pupils in every classroom have a mental health disorder, according to Young Minds.


pupils have a mental health disorder

These are estimated figures for 2018/19 as there are no official statistics. They are up 19% on 2017/18 and more than double 2013/14 estimates. For many, home education is not an elective choice but a forced necessity.


pupils are home educated

These are estimated figures for the 2017 cohort, up from 56,000 in 2016. 

Offrolling takes many forms – some subtle, some less so. This will remain an issue as long as schools are judged solely on attendance and attainment.


pupils are off rolled

In 2018/19 43,985 Penalty Notices were issued for unauthorised absence (excluding term-time holidays). There were also 21,756 prosecutions (covering all categories of non-attendance), up 63.3% on 2016/17.


penalty notices issued

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