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Student absence worsening at secondary level, analysis shows

It is unlikely that schools will see a return to pre-pandemic attendance levels by the end of 2023, an analysis has concluded.

The biggest improvements in attendance since September have been seen in the youngest primary school cohorts while absence at secondary level continues to rise.

However, the analysis from FFT Datalab (Beynon, 2023) predicts that neither primary nor secondary attendance will return to pre-pandemic levels this term.

It shows that while notable improvements have been seen in absence reduction for most primary year groups when compared to this time last year – especially reception and year 1 – all secondary year groups have worsened.

The analysis is based on data from almost 10,000 schools in England using the FFT Attendance Tracker and it covers the first half of the autumn term 2023, comparing it to the same period in 2022.

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