Publication Types:

Trajectories of school absences and pupils' academic performance

Research brief
Jascha Dräger, Markus Klein, Edward Sosu
University of Strathclyde
Publication year: 2023

Key points
– Two-thirds of pupils have consistently low absence trajectories,
while one-third demonstrate some form of moderate to high
absence trajectories over the compulsory schooling period.
– More than one-fourth of pupils have consistently moderate
authorised absences.
– Three smaller groups have moderately increased unauthorised,
strongly increasing authorised, and strongly increasing
unauthorised absences.
– All identified absence trajectories have a detrimental impact
on GCSE achievement in year 11, with increasing unauthorised
absences having the most harmful impact.
– While extreme levels of unauthorised absences are most
detrimental, a narrow policy focus on this absentee group will
miss many students with other absence trajectories, whose
impact is also harmful to achievement.
– The findings emphasise the need for a nuanced approach
to combating absenteeism, including tailored support for
students in different absence trajectory groups.

School absenteeism and educational attainment - Evidence from the Scottish Longitudinal Study

Research brief
Markus Klein, Edward Sosu, Esme Lillywhite
University of Strathclyde
Publication year: 2022

Socioeconomic disparities in school absenteeism after the first wave of COVID-19 school closures in Scotland

Research brief
Edward Sosu, Markus Klein
Research Report. University of Strathclyde
Publication year: 2021

Key Points

  • Student absences after the first wave of Covid-19 school closures were higher than in previous years
  • Higher rates of absenteeism after school lockdown were due to COVID-19 related reasons
  • Overall, non-Covid-19-related absence rates are similar to trends observed in earlier years
  • Socioeconomic inequalities in school absenteeism were higher post-lockdown than in previous years
  • This increase can be attributed to rising disparities in school absenteeism due to Covid-19-related and non-Covid-19 reasons
  • The rise in socioeconomic inequality in non-Covid-19related absenteeism was not only due to higher absence rates among students from the most deprived areas but also due to lower absence rates among students from the least deprived areas
  • Addressing the disproportionate short- and long-term  impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable children needs to be at the forefront of policy agenda
  • We need greater monitoring and evaluation of
    • inequalities in home learning during the second round of school closures
    • inequalities in academic achievement after school reopening
    • policy interventions designed to mitigate the consequences of Covid-19 on achievement gaps.