Pupil absence in schools in England

Posted: 21st April 2023

This release looks at pupil absence across the 2021/22 academic year, including by reason and school types.

Data is given on pupil absences as well as where a pupil was recorded as not attending in circumstances relating to coronavirus (Code X). Where a pupil was not attending in these circumstances, schools were expected to provide immediate access to remote education. During 2021/22, this category should mostly have been used to record where a pupil was absent from school with symptoms of COVID-19 whilst awaiting the results of a test. This differs to previous years when this code was also used where pupils were advised to shield, were quarantining after returning from abroad, were in class bubbles advised to isolate and where pupils were not expected to attend in person during periods of national restrictions (during which, schools were expected to provide remote education). Throughout the pandemic, schools were advised to record pupils with a confirmed case of COVID-19 as absent due to illness (Code I).

School level data was collected via the Department’s education settings survey on pupil attendance throughout the pandemic. However, this release is derived from the pupil level school census from which further analysis, such as persistent absence, can be produced. The categories of absence in this release match those used on school registers and differ to those used in the education settings survey.

Experimental official statistics produced from daily data submitted automatically by schools to the Department are available in the Pupil attendance in schools publication. Due to the timeliness of the data and that they are based on a subset of schools, the figures are estimates that we expect to change as registers are adjusted. They should be viewed as an early indicator for the data provided in later national statistics releases.

Source: Pupil absence in schools in England, Academic year 2018/19 – Explore education statistics – GOV.UK (

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