1 in 3 Northern Ireland school children 'persistently absent'

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Department for Education don't collect data on possible causes of emotionally based school avoidance

Almost a third of Northern Ireland school children have ‘chronic’ or ‘severely chronic’ attendance according to the Department for Education.

Despite having a 10% bigger ‘persistent absence’ rate in NI than England, the Department for Education is not entirely clear on the root causes. “The Department in partnership with the Education Authority, schools and other organisations is continuing to promote the benefits of regular attendance at school and the implications of poor attendance on educational outcomes through promotional materials and its ‘Miss School. Miss Out’ Strategy which it is currently reviewing.”

They also highlighted how there has been a 27% increase in family holidays that were not agreed since 2017/18 and a 100% rise in non-attendance at primary level with no reason provided as to why. But he added: “It is important to note this is case for around 1% of pupils in our school which accounts for 4,145 pupils across Northern Ireland.


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