Unauthorised absences in North East schools at an all-time high

New DfE statistics show unauthorised absence in England and the North East at an all-time high.

In England, the rate of unauthorised pupil absence rose from 1.1% in 2015-16 to 1.3% in 2016-17, the highest since records began. In the North East, the figure rose from 1.3 in 2015-16 to 1.5 in 2016-17, the highest ever for the region.

Rates of persistent absenteeism vary across the region, with Teesside faring the worst.  The rate in Middlesbrough’s secondary schools stood at 20% in 2016/17, the highest in the region, though this constitutes a fall from 21.3% in 2015/16. The full figures are shown below.

The DfE has said the increase in unauthorised absence can be blamed on family holidays that have not been agreed by the school.

The rate of unauthorised absence is defined as a percentage of the total number of possible sessions.

The definition of persistent absence changed from the 2015/16 academic year and is currently defined as pupil enrolments missing 10% or more of their own possible sessions.

Fig 1 absence

Fig 2 absence

Fig 3 absence


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