Attendance at grant-aided schools 2015/16 – detailed statistics

Date published: 23 February 2017

The Department of Education has today published a statistical bulletin providing final and detailed figures for pupil attendance at grant-aided primary, post-primary and special schools for the academic year 2015/16.

Key findings:

  • The overall attendance rate for all grant-aided schools in 2015/16 was unchanged from 2014/15 at 94.6%.
  • The attendance rate for primary schools was 95.5% of total half days. In post-primary schools, the attendance rate was 93.5%. The overall rate for special schools was 90.2%.
  • Pupils entitled to free school meals had lower attendance rates in 2015/16 than those who were not. In primary schools, such pupils were absent for 6.2% of total half days compared with 4.7% among other pupils. At post-primary level, free school meal entitled pupils were absent for 9.6% of total half days compared with 5.1% among other pupils.
  • Four per cent of primary school pupils had attendance rates 85% and under. The equivalent figure for post-primary pupils was 9.1%. At post-primary level, non-grammar schools accounted for 84.4% of all pupils with attendance rates below 85%. These schools accounted for 58.8% of total post-primary enrolments in 2015/16.
  • The most common cause of absence in all schools was illness, which is an authorised absence. It accounted for 63.1% of absent half days in primary schools, 53.0% in post-primary schools and 48.4% in special schools in 2015/16. This equated to 2.8%, 3.5% and 4.7% of total half days respectively.

The bulletin can be viewed on the DE website.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Absence is reported by schools in half day sessions and recorded as authorised or unauthorised.
  2. Initial findings for 2015/16 were published on 26 January 2017. This bulletin supplements that information by providing analysis of attendance data by school and pupil characteristics.
  3. Attendance data for the 2015/16 academic year was collected from all grant-aided primary, post-primary and special schools in Northern Ireland via the school census which was conducted in October 2016.
  4. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 0762 397 4383 and your call will be returned.

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