Persistent absence

What is Persistent Absence?

A child who only attends school for 90% or less of the time is classed as a Persistent Absentee.

90% might sound great, but Jack's story shows us why it's not:

Jack is a child who attends school for 90% of the time. His parents think this is quite good. 90% attendance is the same as being absent from school for a half day every week.

A chart showing the days of the week split into half days. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are shaded in for both halves of the day. Friday is only shaded for half a day. This is 90% attendance.

Over a whole school year Jack would miss four weeks of lessons. Jack would also spend more time away from school over the year than in school!

Days in a year Days spent in school Days spent out of school
365 171 194

If Jack's attendance for all the years he went to school was 90% he would have missed 209 days of school, that's more than a whole school year!

So why does persistent absence matter?

Missing school has a huge impact on how well a pupil gets on at school. The more school a child misses, the harder it is for them to get into a routine of attending regularly and catch up on the work they have missed.

Research shows that a year 11 pupil who has missed 17 days during the school year will get one grade less than they would have achieved had they attended regularly. Research also shows that persistently absent children are less likely to do well at school, are more likely to experience crime, either as a victim or perpetrator, struggle financially, and even suffer with poor health in later life.

A few days of absence now could have a huge impact on a child's future opportunities.

Our vision

Bradford Council is committed to ensuring that no child is a persistent absentee.

What can I do?

  1. Be honest. Every parent struggles at some point, no parent is perfect! If you're having difficulties with your child, seek help. Your child's school is a great place to start.
  2. Engage. Professionals work with families because they want to help make things better, but they can only help if families talk to them, meet with them, and accept the help that’s on offer.

The Persistent Absence Team

Bradford Council employs a Persistent Outcomes Absence Team. The team is made up of Attendance Improvement Officers who are
here to help reduce persistent absence.

They do this by talking to schools and families about the possible causes, and help put together a plan to improve attendance.

Our Attendance and Prosecution Teams act on behalf of the council in enforcing a parent's duty to ensure regular school attendance.

Officers work closely with schools and families to resolve issues of poor attendance. They support children and families when pupils are experiencing difficulties in school or issues are disrupting a child's education.

The teams also provides support and advice to schools in developing strategies to improve pupil attendance.