1 Day, Week, Month Absent: How Much School Attendance Is Lost?

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Teachers always seem to bang on about how important your attendance is. When you have a couple of days or maybe even some afternoons off school, it may not seem a lot. However, you need to be aware that these absences can soon pile up! This could have negative effects on your education. It’s true that having the odd day off won’t really matter in the long run. But if you keep having time off school, you will be missing more than you realise.

If you have one day off school, this is roughly equivalent to missing 0.5% of the school year. This is not a lot of time at all. However, if you have a week off school, this could equate to 3.68% of your attendance lost. If you miss one whole month overall, this is approximately equivalent to 15% of your attendance.

You may already be surprised by viewing the numbers above. If you want to find out more about the attendance losses for different lengths of time, check out the rest of this article!

How much school attendance is lost for different lengths of time?

You will be able to see how much school attendance is lost for different lengths of time if you view the table below. All of the following data comes from this document by Scotholme Primary.

Time measurement in regards to school Number of school days missed Equivalent attendance percentage Remaining attendance
Day 1 0.5% 99.5%
Week 5 2.6% 97.4%
Month 20 10% 90%

As you can see, lost attendance can soon add up. Taking a number of days off throughout the year can lead to these attendance losses and you may not even realise- especially if they are spread out!

The data above is percentages based on school days and there is approximately 190 school days in a year. Students will still have approximately 175 days or more off throughout the year.

This includes weekends and holidays, so even with 100% attendance, you will still have plenty of time off!

How much school attendance is lost for being late?

So many students are late to school. It could be because they might have slept through their alarm! It could be because the bus was late or even just because they spent too much time looking for homework!

Regardless of the reason, it is important to realise how much school you could be missing from just being a couple of minutes late. Data from this page on the Starks Field Primary School website shows these shocking findings.

The table below shows the amount of school days lost if you missed these amount of minutes everyday during the school year.

Minutes lost each day Days lost per school year
5 3 days
10 6 days
15 10 days
30 19 days

What is a good school attendance?

Schools generally view a good attendance as 95% or more. However, this can vary between schools! If you have 95% attendance, it means that you would have approximately missed 9.5 days.

Sometimes, missing days is unavoidable. Therefore, 95% is still seen as a good attendance. Persistent absence is defined as having an attendance of 90% or below.

This could result in teachers having to get involved, as they question the student for their absences. You can find out more about good attendance on this article from The School Run.

You need to be aware that good attendance doesn’t only apply to schools and colleges but also universities! Check out this article from Think Student to see if attendance at university is mandatory.

When is it okay to have days off from school?

Normally every student needs to have a couple of days off if they have an illness. This is not their fault, so the school the student goes to will be perfectly fine with them missing a couple of days.

They will also accept students having days off when they need to attend doctors, dentists and opticians appointments. Students may also require days off for religious reasons or extracurricular activities.

These are all acceptable reasons to have days off. Students can also miss school for holidays! However, this must be approved by the head teacher before this absence can be authorised.

Try and limit your number of days off if you can, however it isn’t the worst thing if you can’t! This is because universities are unlikely to check your GCSE and A-Level attendance. You can find out more information about this on this article from Think Student.

When is it bad to have days off from school?

If you have a couple of days off due to the reasons discussed above, this is okay. However, when students skip school for other reasons, low attendance can become a problem.

For example, if you miss school just because you are bored and don’t want to go, this is not a good enough reason. This absence will be classed as unauthorised and you may be questioned by your teachers. Check out this Think Student article to find out more about unauthorised absences.

It is also not ideal to take holidays during term time.  As students receive so many school holidays, there is really no need to take holidays during school. However, many students still do.

If you do this, you may need to pay a fine if this is not authorised by the head teacher. If you have too many days off, you could even be kicked out of school!

Check out this article from Think Student to discover how this works in sixth form.

Is it bad to have low school attendance?

Missing a couple of days of school is unavoidable for most students. This can be for a range of reasons, the most common one being illnesses. However, students also may need to attend funerals, or have doctors appointments which can’t be changed.

Therefore, you shouldn’t worry if you have to have a couple of days off school. However, when this becomes a regular occurrence, it can have negative effects.

This is because low attendance simply means that you are missing quite a bit of school time. Missing lessons could mean that you may not learn as much and could struggle to understand the content.

Data from 2011 outlining the negative effects on education can be found on the government website, if you click here.

It was found that for students that miss more than 50% of school, only 3% manage to achieve five A* to Cs in their GCSEs. If they have missed 10% or 20% of school, only 35% manage to achieve five A* to C GCSEs.

This is in comparison to students who miss less than 5% of school, where 75% of students achieve these top grades. Therefore, having a very low attendance can affect your education negatively.

However, a couple of days off or even a week throughout the year won’t affect this.

Has the number of students getting low school attendance increased?

Unfortunately, the number of students getting low attendance throughout the school year has increased. Part of the reason for this is the COVID pandemic.

Some students may feel that they don’t need to go to school anymore because they can teach themselves. Other pupils have simply lost confidence, due to the lack of interaction with other students during the pandemic.

You can find out more information about this increase in low attendance if you read this article from BBC News.

If this sounds like you, where you struggle to go to school due to increased anxiety, the best thing to do is to talk to someone. Don’t keep it all bottled in! Reach out to a teacher and they will be sure to help. This Think Student article could be helpful in managing anxiety at school.

How do you increase your school attendance?

It is difficult to increase your attendance if, like me, you already try to be in school as much as possible! If your days off are only due to illnesses, then this is unavoidable.

All you can do is make sure that you eat the right healthy foods and exercise regularly to give you the best chance of reducing illness. If you do need to book a doctors or dentists appointment, try to book one out of school time as much as you can.

If you have low attendance due to just skipping school because you want to, perhaps it is time to stop this. Missing a couple of days is not the end of the world, however you need to be aware that too many days missed can affect your education.

Try and be punctual to school by setting an alarm and leaving plenty of time for travel. In the future, you will see the benefits of having a high level of attendance in school.

Hopefully, you will be able to reach that 95%!

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