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NAHT responds to new pupil attendance data

The Department for Education has recently released new statistics titled ‘pupil attendance in schools’.  

The release covers the full 2022/23 academic year up to 21 July 2023. 

The attendance rate was 89.3% across all schools in the week commencing 17 July 2023. The absence rate was, therefore, 10.7% across all schools. 

The data shows that the attendance rate across the academic year 2022/23 was 92.5%. The absence rate was, therefore, 7.5% across all schools. 

Across the academic year 2022/23, 22.3% of pupil enrolments missed 10% or more of their possible sessions and are therefore identified as persistently absent. 

Responding to the new pupil attendance statistics for the 2022/23 school year, James Bowen, assistant general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “These latest statistics show clearly that persistent absence continues to be a major post-pandemic issue, and it is a particular concern that disadvantaged pupils are much more likely to miss school regularly. 

“Schools absolutely have a role to play in encouraging good attendance, but the reality is they cannot address the issue alone. The government has said tackling pupil absence is a major priority, but we haven’t seen the level of resources required to turn these figures around. 

“A decade of cuts has seen the teams that used to support schools with attendance decimated, and large parts of the country do not benefit from either the government’s attendance hubs, or its pilot mentoring programme for those pupils absent most often. 

“The government really does need to redouble its efforts and commit the necessary resources to tackle this issue. In particular, there needs to be greater investment in specialist teams which work directly with pupils who frequently miss school and their families. 

“What it cannot do is expect schools to solve this problem without appropriate support.” 

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