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[this is a icon-] A slice from a data cube dataset

School Attendance Rate: a data cube slice

Attendance rate of pupils attending publicly funded schools

View as a spreadsheet
Measure Type
  1. Ratio
Reference Period
  1. 2003/2004
  2. 2004/2005
  3. 2005/2006
  4. 2006/2007
  5. 2007/2008
  6. 2008/2009
  7. 2009/2010
  8. 2010/2011
  9. 2012/2013
  10. 2014/2015
  11. 2016/2017
School Type
  1. All
  2. Primary
  3. Secondary
Reference Area
(showing types of area available in these data)
  1. Council Areas
  2. 2011 Data Zones
Entire dataset
Note: These may be large files.
About the Dataset
Not supplied
Not supplied
In dataset
Next update due
April 2022

Information is taken from attendance returns linked to the September Scottish Pupil Census, for the relevant year, for publicly funded schools.

The data does not include

  • pupils attending special schools;
  • pupils attending independent schools;
  • pupils educated outwith the school education system (for example at home);
  • adults attending publicly funded secondary schools.

The data was collected through the Scottish Exchange of Educational Data (ScotXed) project. More information on the ScotXed project is available on

A range of information was collected for each individual pupil, including the pupil home postcode, gender and whether a pupil is registered for free school meals. Postcodes were submitted for about 99% of pupils in publicly funded primary and secondary schools. Results here do not include pupils with a missing or invalid postcode. Therefore, the national figures may not be the same as national figures published elsewhere.

The data covers the whole academic year. In some authorities schools did not receive full instructions from their local authority about new definitions for attendance for 2003/04, which may affect the comparability of the data for that year. While information is received at pupil level, there is currently no unique pupil identifier for tracking pupils who move school to another authority. This means that where a pupil has moved schools, only the attendance record from the original school has been used. It was possible to link about 95 per cent of possible attendance.

Confidentiality Policy

Data have been suppressed where the number of pupils in a datazone is fewer than five or where not doing so would allow the identification of fewer than five pupils.

Quality Management

For information on our quality assurance process, see the School Education Statistics Validation Process section on the Scottish Government website at:

Accuracy and Reliability

In 2007, the Scottish Government published guidance Included, Engaged and Involved Part 1 which replaced Scottish Executive Circular 5/03 on the management of attendance and absence in Scottish schools. This guidance: Clarifies classification and recording requirements Addresses wider issues of promotion and management of attendance Strengthens links between absence and protection of children

Electronic copies are available from:

Holidays taken during term time must be categorised as unauthorised absence. However, it is acceptable under exceptional circumstances for schools to authorise a family holiday during term time. Such circumstances may include a family holiday judged to be important to the wellbeing and cohesion of the family, following serious or terminal illness, bereavement or other traumatic events. It should not include such reasons as the availability of cheap holidays, the availability of desired accommodation, poor weather experienced during school holidays, holidays which overlap the beginning or end of term, or parental difficulty obtaining leave (with local judgement applied in cases where evidence is provided by the employer that it cannot accommodate leave during school holidays without serious consequences).

Pupils arriving late are marked as such, with a distinction made for those arriving in the second half of a morning or the second half of the afternoon. Where summary data is necessary, if a pupil has attended most of an opening it is counted as attendance, but if they have been absent for most of a session it is included as authorised absence. They are of course still separately identified as being late but present for some of the time in the schools' systems for management purposes. Schools were also given the possibility of including all late marks on a pupil's record as attendance, if it is deemed beneficial for encouraging attendance. The distinction is also used in judging attendance records of those receiving bursaries and allowances.

Further details can be obtained from the circular and addendum

Prior to 2003/04, information was collected at school level, by stage up to S5, in the four categories: attendance, authorised absence, unauthorised absence due to temporary exclusion and other unauthorised absence. From 2003/04 information was collected at individual level, enabling linkage to pupil characteristics collected in the pupil census. From 2003/04 information was also collected (and published) for a wider range of attendance and absence categories.

Coherence and Comparability

The attendance and absence collection covers all publicly funded local authority schools in Scotland and Jordanhill, the grant-aided mainstream school. It does not cover grant-aided special schools, independent schools or early learning and childcare establishments. The information shown for attendance and absence is for the academic year 2016/17. Schools which closed during the 2016/17 session, and for which data was available, were included. The attendance and absence of S6 pupils were excluded from some of the summary figures in earlier publications. However, S6 pupils have now been included in all analysis of attendance and absence.

Accessibility and Clarity
Not supplied

Percentages for authorised and unauthorised absence relate to the total number of possible attendances. For many schools this is 380 half-day sessions during the school year. However, all schools in the Lothians, the Scottish Borders, Edinburgh and 24 schools in Highland operate 342 (longer) half-day sessions in the school year.

The local authority average is the average number of half-days authorised or unauthorised absence for all pupils in local authority schools only, based on a 380 half day year (i.e. scaled up for the Lothians, the Scottish Borders and Edinburgh). The national average is the average number of half-days authorised or unauthorised absence for local authority and mainstream grant-aided schools in Scotland.

Timeliness and Punctuality

These data are collected from local authorities in the autumn following the year to which they refer. Hence the data for the 2016/17 school year where collected, validated and published in autumn 2017.


There are no scheduled revisions to these statistics. The Scottish Government policy on revisions and corrections is available here:


This slice of multidimensional data is not a Linked Data resource in the database: it's a virtual resource (i.e. you can't query it by SPARQL). But does have a permanent unique URL which can be bookmarked.
Dimensions Linked Data

A linked data-orientated view of dimensions and values

Dimension Locked Value
Reference Period
Reference Area
(not locked to a value)
School Type
(not locked to a value)
Measure Type
(not locked to a value)