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Welsh schools data shows fall in primary school absenteeism

19/12/2017 Joanna

The Welsh government has announced new data showing that primary schools are succeeding in bringing down the rate of absenteeism.

Official statistics showed that in 2016-17, overall absence rates from Welsh primary schools remained at 5.1 per cent in terms of the number of half-day sessions missed in total, while for unauthorised absences, this figure stood at 1.1 per cent.

This means that overall absences have been on a downward curve since 2006-07, with a slight rise in 2012-13 followed by two consecutive falls in 2013-14 and 2014-15, before remaining at broadly the same level in the years since.

The data also revealed that the percentage of persistent absentees in primary schools remained unchanged in 2016-17, while the proportion of pupils with no absences and the number who missed more than 20 days both decreased.

Education secretary Kirsty Williams attributed the recent progress to the efforts made by pupils, parents and teachers, which reflects a growing awareness that regular school attendance is crucial for helping young people to achieve their full educational potential.

She said: "Despite the progress we have seen, we can't afford to be complacent and we will continue to take action to improve attendance in our schools. Understanding the needs of individual learners and providing the right support at the right time is what can make all the difference."

Ms Williams also noted that the recent Pupil Development Grant evaluation published by the Welsh government this month offered further evidence of the benefits of improved attendance for disadvantaged learners, underlining the importance of making sure these students are well-supported in particular.

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