Government school student attendance 2012

This bulletin was originally published 12 April 2013.

Image: 2012 student attendance bulletin


Student attendance has been demonstrated to be linked to student academic outcomes, although the nature of the link is complex. CESE’s Government School Student Attendance 2012 bulletin summarises attendance rates by:

  • region
  • school type
  • Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students
  • gender
  • school size and location.

Main findings

CESE’s analysis of Semester 1 2012 attendance data indicates that the average attendance rate for NSW government schools was 92.0 per cent. The attendance rate for all students in NSW government schools decreased slightly by 0.1 per cent in 2012; from 92.1 per cent in 2011.

Attendance rates by region

In 2012 the attendance rates of all students ranged from 94.8 per cent in the Northern Sydney region to 89.7 per cent in North Coast and New England regions; a difference of 5.1 percentage points. The variation between regions has increased over the last six years.

Attendance rate by school type

Attendance rates were lower for students in remote and very remote schools compared to attendance rates at schools in major cities - averaging 85.6 per cent in remote and very remote areas, compared to 92.7 per cent in major cities.

Attendance rate and Aboriginal students

Aboriginal attendance rates across regions in 2012 varied from 89.4 per cent in the Northern Sydney region to 83.6 per cent in New England region, a difference of 5.8 percentage points. This was a larger gap than in 2006, where the difference was 4.9 percentage points. The Aboriginal students’ attendance rate has been stable at 85.4 per cent in 2011 and 2012, but it has been significantly lower, around seven percentage points on average, than non-Aboriginal students for the last six years.

Attendance rate by gender

The attendance rate of girls has been consistently higher than the attendance rate of boys over the last ten years, with the gap widening slightly from 0.19 percentage points in 2011 to 0.23 percentage points in 2012.

Attendance rate by school size and location

An analysis of attendance rates by school size indicated that large primary (>300), secondary (>900) and central/community schools (>300) had higher attendance rates than small primary (<300), small secondary (<900) and small central/community schools (<300). Furthermore, schools in non-metropolitan regions had lower attendance rates than schools in metropolitan regions.

Implications for educators

Recording and monitoring student attendance allows educators to identify students who have low attendance, and are at risk of falling behind. Tracking student attendance is also a legislative requirement and part of every school’s duty of care. Attendance data is important because it provides a measure of students’ engagement – which is critical for evaluating school and student performance.

For more information

To access data on NSW government school student attendance, visit the NSW Education Data Hub.
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