Worst school absence rates across Nottinghamshire revealed in new data

The Nottinghamshire schools which recorded the most student absences have been revealed in Department for Education (DfE) data. 289 students at Djanogly City Academy in Nottingham were recorded as persistently absent during the 2020-21 academic year.

That means they missed at least 10% of possible half-day sessions – the equivalent of a day off every fortnight. This equates to around 30.7% of pupils enrolled at the school over the year. That was the 90th-highest rate of persistent absence out of thousands recorded by state-funded secondaries across England.

The school also recorded 39 pupils as having missed at least half of their sessions, which was 4.1% of those on the roll. The next highest persistent absence rate of secondary schools in the area was recorded at the Bulwell Academy, where 299 pupils (29.9%) missed 10% or more of sessions.

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At the Sir Donald Bailey Academy, Newark, in the county council area, 147 pupils (36.7%) missed at least one in 10 sessions, which was the 48th-highest rate for primaries nationally. That was followed by Mount CofE Primary and Nursery School, also in Newark, at 56 pupils (30.8%).

Figures relating to individual schools exclude a small number of secondaries with fewer than 100 pupil enrolments and primaries with fewer than 50 pupil enrolments. As the data counts enrolments rather than individual pupils, a child who has moved school during the year will be counted more than once.

Across all secondaries and primaries in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, 16,120 pupils (11.1%) were recorded as persistently absent over the year, while 1,441 (1.0%) missed at least half of their sessions. However, the persistent absence rate rose to 12.0% in Nottingham when only including the area’s primary schools – the joint seventh-highest rate of any council area in the country.

You can use this interactive tool to find out how much time children missed at schools across your area.

Secondary schools with the highest proportion of absentees:

School name // Pupils enrolments // Persistent absentees // Persistent absentee rate (%)

  1. Djanogly City Academy // 940 // 289 // 30.7
  2. The Bulwell Academy // 1001 // 299 // 29.9
  3. Ellis Guilford School // 1389 // 380 // 27.4
  4. The Holgate Academy // 1012 // 240 // 23.7
  5. The Oakwood Academy // 751 // 177 // 23.6
  6. Park Vale Academy // 872 // 206 // 23.6

Secondary schools with the lowest proportion of absentees:

School name // Pupils enrolments // Persistent absentees // Persistent absentee rate (%)

  1. The West Bridgford School // 1320 // 45 // 3.4
  2. Carlton le Willows Academy // 1511 // 59 // 3.9
  3. The Trinity Catholic School A Voluntary Academy // 952 // 61 // 6.4
  4. Arnold Hill Spencer Academy // 1310 // 86 // 6.6
  5. Nottingham Free School // 549 // 36 // 6.6

Primary schools with the highest proportion of absentees:

School name // Pupils enrolments // Persistent absentees // Persistent absentee rate (%)

  1. The Sir Donald Bailey Academy // 401 // 147 // 36.7
  2. Mount CofE Primary and Nursery School // 182 // 56 // 30.8
  3. Gunthorpe CofE Primary School // 77 // 22 // 28.6
  4. Djanogly Sherwood Academy // 250 // 70 // 28
  5. Ambleside Primary School // 549 // 146 // 26.6

Primary schools with the lowest proportion of absentees:

School name // Pupils enrolments // Persistent absentees // Persistent absentee rate (%)

  1. Everton Primary School // 84 // 0 // 0
  2. Misson Primary School // 88 // 0 // 0
  3. Rosecliffe Spencer Academy // 93 // 0 // 0
  4. Sutton-On-Trent Primary and Nursery School // 97 // 0 // 0
  5. Bracken Lane Primary Academy // 181 // 1 // 0.6

The Government cited levels of persistent absence in its recent “levelling up” plan as one of the ways it will measure its progress in spreading opportunity more equally across the nation. And earlier this month, the DfE announced a £5 million trial in which “attendance mentors” will give one-to-one support to pupils or their family to “overcome barriers” to being in school more.

Across England, 11.5% of pupil enrolments across primaries and secondaries were recorded as persistently absent in 2020-21, which equates to around 814,000 children. That was up from 10.6% in 2018-19, the last year with comparable figures.

The West Bridgford School in Loughborough Road.

The group’s general secretary Geoff Barton said: “There is a long-standing problem of persistent absence among some young people, which may have worsened during the pandemic, and this may be higher in areas of socio-economic disadvantage.

“This is because these young people often face very significant challenges in their lives and can consequently become disengaged with education.

“Schools work very hard to encourage good attendance, but they have not been helped by the fact that the Government has cut funding to local authorities which has impacted on attendance support services.”

A DfE spokesman said the pandemic had shown the “vital importance” of face-to-face education for children and young people.

He added: “We are taking steps to understand and tackle avoidable absence, including through our attendance alliance of leading experts such as the Children’s Commissioner and Ofsted Chief Inspector, and our attendance advisers working with councils and trusts to help manage local attendance issues.

“We are working to strengthen the support available to pupils with lower attendance and have launched a new pilot programme to improve the quality of school attendance data so we can make sure no child needlessly misses out on education.

“We are also running a consultation to help end the postcode lottery of how attendance is managed in different schools and parts of the country.”

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