Government school student attendance 2013

This bulletin was originally published 13 May 2014.

Image: 2013 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 2013 bulletin summarises attendance rates by:

  • student level of education
  • metro and no-metro regions
  • Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students
  • scholastic year and gender.

Main findings

CESE’s analysis of Semester 1 2013 attendance data indicates that the attendance rate for all students in NSW government schools increased by 0.6 percentage points in 2013; from 92.0 per cent in 2012 to 92.6 per cent in 2013. This is just 0.1 percentage point lower than the highest attendance rate recorded over the past 10 years, which was 92.7 per cent in 2003.

Attendance rate by metro and non-metro regions

Over the last ten years student attendance rates in metro regions have been consistently higher than in non-metro regions. The attendance rates for both metro and non-metro regions have increased since 2012. Metro regions increased from 93.1 per cent in 2012 to 93.8 per cent in 2013 and non-metro regions increased from 90.7 per cent in 2012 to 91.2 per cent in 2013.

Attendance rates by student level of education

Primary student attendance rates remain on average 5.0 percentage points higher than secondary student attendance rates. In 2013, primary attendance averaged 94.6 per cent while secondary attendance averaged 89.8 per cent.

Primary attendance rates increased by 0.6 percentage points, from 94.0 per cent in 2007 to 94.6 per cent in 2013. This is the highest rate since 2007. Secondary attendance rates also increased, by 0.8 percentage points from 89.0 per cent in 2012 to 89.8 per cent in 2013. This is the first increase since the decline in 2011 and 2012 following the raising of the school leaving age in 2010.

Aboriginal students’ attendance rates

Aboriginal students’ attendance rates have increased by 0.8 percentage point since 2012, from 85.4 per cent, to 86.2 per cent in 2013. Aboriginal primary attendance rates have been increasing steadily for the last six years. This trend continued in 2013, increasing by a further 0.6 percentage points, with an overall increase of 1.8 percentage points since 2006. Aboriginal secondary attendance rates in 2013 were higher than in 2011 and 2012. The secondary attendance rate increased by 0.8 percentage points since 2012, from 79.1 per cent to 79.9 per cent in 2013.

Attendance rates by scholastic year and gender

Attendance rates for all students only declined by around 1 percentage point between Kindergarten and Year 6. However attendance dropped by approximately 6.0 percentage points during junior secondary years.

For all students, the attendance rates for boys and girls are quite similar in Kindergarten to Year 4 but the boys’ attendance rates begin to fall below the girls’ attendance rate in Year 5 and remains lower in Years 6 to 8. In the later grades, Years 9 to 12, the attendance rates of boys and girls converge, with boys attendances being slightly higher than girls in Year 12. Aboriginal students follow a similar pattern to all students except boys’ attendance rates begin to fall below girls’ in Year 2.

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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