School attendance and absence: The facts

School attendance and absence: The facts
From BBC - December 6, 2017

One in 10 school children being classed as "persistently absent" is a figure that wo not sit well with the government.

A persistently absent child is one who misses school for at least 10% of the time.

The number of children who were persistently absent in the autumn and spring terms of 2016 and 2017 increased slightly compared to the same period in the previous year, from 10.3% to 10.4%. Secondary schools had a higher rate of persistent absence than primary schools.

And overall, unauthorised absence, whether persistent or not, also increased.

Such statistics are just one of the reasons the BBC Stories team decided to look behind the numbers to make a series of films about why children do not attend school.

Taking to the streets in cities across the country, the team asked children themselves why they skipped classes. They gave a range of reasons including anxiety, depression, bullying and having little interest in the subjects they are taught.

Many said they wanted more support at school and some wished they could go back and "just start all over again".

According to the Department for Education's latest statistics, sickness was the main reason for absence in the autumn 2016 and spring 2017 terms. But illness rates remained the same as the previous year at 2.7%. Unauthorised absences, however, rose, including unauthorised family holidays.

It is important to note that overall school absences in England declined since the same period a decade earlier, as did the percentage of pupils who were persistently absent.

But what's most surprising is where truancy was at its highest. While high deprivation indicators based on health, crime, education and crucially income are commonly linked to high truancy, a closer look shows this is not necessarily the case.


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