Last reviewed on 3 February 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
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Read our tips on monitoring and challenging your school's attendance figures by questioning the senior leadership team, benchmarking against national data, and understanding how Ofsted will use your data.

What is persistent absence?

Pupils are classed as persistently absent and count towards your persistent absence data if their attendance is 90% or less. This means they'll also count if they:

  • Have a high number of suspensions (fixed-term exclusions). This is because while excluded, they'll be registered under an absence code – in this case 'E' (where no alternative provision has been made)
  • Are persistent absentees who leave mid-year – they're still included in census data, which is how your school's end-of-year attendance data is collected

The lead attendance officer at Birmingham City Council explained this to us.

Questions to ask your SLT

What are our persistent absence figures? Is absence (and persistent absence) more widespread within certain groups of pupils? Are the figures skewed by a small number of pupils? Is there a particular age group/year/class that has a significantly lower