2021 Semester 1 student attendance fact sheet

This fact sheet was originally published 17 March 2022.


This fact sheet is an overview of student attendance in NSW government schools in Semester 1 2021. It provides attendance figures from Kindergarten to Year 12 and includes measures such as the attendance rate, the proportion of students attending 90% or more of the time (known as the attendance level) as well as analysis of absence reasons.

In 2021 attendance figures were calculated differently to align with the third edition of ACARA’s ‘National Standards for Student Attendance Data and Reporting’. These calculation changes include:

  • no rounding when determining whether a student’s attendance rate meets the 90% threshold for attendance level calculations
  • including the final week of Term 2
  • treating partial absences over 120 minutes as a half day absence (instead of their actual value, calculated as a proportion of a nominal 6-hour day).

Furthermore, the department implemented an automated attendance feed (AAF) system in Semester 1 2021. AAF transfers data automatically from thirdparty attendance management systems to the department’s centralised data warehouse every night. Previously, schools needed to manually load data from their third-party system into the department’s student management system. The AAF has significantly improved data quality in 2021, which has affected data comparability with previous years.

The attendance figures provided in this fact sheet may differ slightly from the school and system attendance targets reported elsewhere, including in Scout. Attendance targets were developed with 2018 baseline results and used the previous calculation methodology. Please refer to the ‘Official ACARA methodology compared to the previous methodology’ section for more information on these differences.

Although there were no state-wide or regional lockdowns in NSW during Semester 1 2021, COVID-19 continued to affect student attendance. Analysis of attendance codes showed a change in the structure of absence reasons in 2021, presented later in this fact sheet. For more information on how COVID-19 impacted student attendance in 2020, please refer to our previous fact sheet Effects of COVID-19 on attendance during Semester 1 2020. Due to the impact of COVID-19 on 2020 data, 2021 student attendance data is mainly compared with 2019 data in this fact sheet.

For more information


  • Educational data
  • Statistical
  • Student engagement and wellbeing
  • Using data to inform practice

Business Unit:

  • Centre for Education Statistics and Evaluation
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