Government school student attendance 2017

This bulletin was originally published 13 March 2018.

Image: 2017 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 2017 (Semester 1) bulletin summarises attendance rates by:

  • student level of education
  • remoteness
  • Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students
  • scholastic year and gender.

Main findings

CESE’s analysis of Semester 1 2017 attendance data indicates that the average attendance rate for NSW government schools was 92.1 per cent, but varied widely across a number of contextual factors.

Attendance rate and student level of education

Primary school students’ attendance rates were, on average, 4.4 percentage points higher than secondary school students’ attendance rates. Attendance rates decreased at a slower rate in primary years (drop of 1 percentage point from Kindergarten to Year 6), than in secondary years (5 percentage points decrease between years 7 and 10).

Attendance rate and remoteness

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

The gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students’ attendance rate has decreased 0.7 percentage points since 2011. In 2017, the average attendance rate for Aboriginal students was 86.2 per cent and for non-Aboriginal students was 92.6 per cent. This gap was smaller for primary students (4.1 percentage points) than secondary students (10.1 percentage points). The average attendance rate for Aboriginal students at remote and very remote schools has increased by 4.3 percentage points since 2006.

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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