Chapter 7: Attendance and absence
- 93.3% attendance in 2016/17, down from 93.7% in 2014/15
Schools record information on pupils attendance and absence from school and the reasons for this. This information is used to monitor pupil engagement and also to ensure pupils safety and wellbeing by following up on pupils who do not attend school. The Scottish Government published detailed guidance in 2007 on promoting good attendance at school and effective management of absenteeism (see: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2007/12/05100056/0).
Table 7.1 shows school attendance, absence and temporary exclusion rates over the period 2010/11 to 2016/17. Information on attendance and absence was not collected in 2011/12, 2013/14 or 2015/16, as this data is now collected only once every two years.
Variations in recording practice of reasons for absence, between local authorities and over time, means that values and comparisons for certain detailed absence reasons, sickness and truancy in particular, are not reliable. The full breakdown of categories by local authority for 2016/17 is available in the supplementary tables. These data, and Table 7.1 below, do however show levels of absence as recorded by schools. Comparisons of overall attendance, overall absence and temporary exclusions are considered valid over time and between local authorities.
Since 2010/11 pupils' rate of attendance has remained relatively stable, increasing from 93.1 to 93.7 per cent in 2014/15 then decreasing to 93.3 per cent in 2016/17.
Table 7.1: Attendance and absence by detailed reason (1)
Percentage of Pupils
|Sickness with education provision||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0|
|Sickness without education provision||3.4||3.7||3.5||3.5|
|Exceptional domestic circumstances||0.1||0.1||0.1||0.1|
|Unexplained absence, including truancy||1.3||1.2||1.3||1.5|
|Exceptional domestic circumstances||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0|
|All absences (authorised and unauthorised)||6.8||6.4||6.3||6.6|
(1) Detailed absence reasons will be affected by differing reporting practices across local authorities and over time. Overall absence and attendance are comparable.
Table 7.2 shows the 2016/17 national attendance rate across each sector broken down by gender, ethnicity, additional support needs and the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ( SIMD, 20% most deprivation versus 20% least deprivation).
Pupils with additional support needs in mainstream schools had a lower attendance rate than pupils with no additional support needs, with the difference being greater in secondary school.
Pupils living in areas with higher levels of deprivation had lower attendance rates, with the effect being greater in secondary and special school. In secondary schools, pupils living in areas associated with most deprivation (based on lowest 20 per cent of the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2016 ( SIMD)) had an attendance rate 6.6 percentage points lower than the pupils living in areas associated with least deprivation.
Table 7.2: Attendance by pupil characteristic
Percentage of Pupils
|Mixed or multiple ethnic groups||95.1||92.1||92.1||94.0|
|All other ethnic groups||93.1||90.9||88.9||92.4|
|Not Disclosed / Not Known||94.1||89.3||89.1||92.8|
|Additional Support Needs (1)|
|Pupils with Additional Support needs||93.5||88.6||90.4||91.2|
|Pupils with no Additional support needs||95.3||92.1||#||94.1|
|Lowest 20% of SIMD (Most deprived)||92.9||87.7||88.8||90.9|
|Highest 20% of SIMD (Least deprived)||96.7||94.3||93.4||95.6|
(1) Pupils that were not matched to the Pupil Census have not been included.
Table 7.3 shows local attendance rates over the period 2010/11 to 2016/17.
In 2016/17 the percentage attendance in Scottish local authority schools ranged from 91.8 per cent to 95.3 per cent. This range of variation in attendance rates is consistent with the preceding years.
Table 7.3: Average attendance
Percentage of Pupils
|Argyll & Bute||93.7||94.3||94.2||93.7|
|Dumfries & Galloway||94.4||94.2||94.5||94.2|
|Edinburgh, City of||93.0||93.9||94.1||93.9|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||93.9||93.9||94.9||95.2|
|Perth & Kinross||93.8||94.0||93.9||93.6|
|Grant Aided (1)||95.8||96.9||96.8||97.1|
(1) Includes Jordanhill the mainstream grant-aided school only. Grant-aided special schools are not included in the collection.