Attendance: persistent and severe absence thresholds and statistics

Pupils are persistent absentees if they miss 10% of sessions or more, and severe absentees if they miss 50%. Learn how to analyse your data, and see the national statistics.

Last reviewed on 22 December 2022
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School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 8194
  1. Persistent absence threshold is 10%
  2. Severe absence threshold is 50%
  3. Compare your data to the national statistics 
  4. Calculate persistent or severe absence as a proportion of all absence
  5. Know what Ofsted will look at
  6. Take action to reduce persistent and severe absence

Persistent absence threshold is 10%

If a pupil's overall absence rate is 10% or higher of their possible sessions, they're classified as a persistent absentee. A 'session' is 1 morning or afternoon in school.

This is based on their individual absence level, not by comparison to a national threshold. 

The calculation for this is:

[A pupil’s individual overall absence divided by a pupil’s individual possible sessions] multiplied by 100. If this is greater than or equal to 10, the pupil is classified as persistently absent.

Or, visually:

The Key

You can read more about this calculation in the DfE's guidance on pupil absence statistics, paragraph 3.2.2.

Worked example

Severe absence threshold is