A child is persistent absent if they miss 10% or more of all possible school sessions regardless of whether the absence is authorised or unauthorised.

Children persistently absent play catch-up with work, miss time and opportunity with friends, and miss out on clubs and extra-curricular activities (areas to apply learning).

100%0 days missed
99%1 day missed
98%3 days missed
97%1 week missed
96%1 and a half weeks missed
94%2 weeks missed
93%2 and half weeks missed
92%3 weeks missed
90%4 weeks missed
85%4 and a half weeks missed
82%Half a term missed
78%7 weeks missed
Impact on educational attainment

Department for Education found overall absence negatively effects attainment at the end of Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 – every extra day missed is associated with a lower attainment outcome.

  • Pupils with at least 95% attendance achieve 5 or more GCSEs at grades A*- C
  • Only 10% of persistent absentees achieve 5 A* – C GCSEs compared to 58% of regular attenders
  • 21% of persistent absentees had no qualifications compared to only 3% of regular attenders

Link between absence and attainment at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4

Importance of regular attendance

Regular attendance enables children to fulfil their educational potential. It also lays foundations for future learning, commitment to hobbies, training and employment.

Persistent absence and other factors

Persistent absence often clusters with other factors (housing, health, finances). Ask your school about ‘Early Help’.

Early Help:

  • Is strength based, allowing you to work out what you’re doing well rather than focusing simply on challenges.
  • The focus is on practical steps to reaching a solution.
  • It’s conversational rather than being based on a rigid set of questions.