Schools and academies in Nottingham have seen a big improvement in attendance.

New figures show 4.8% of pupils were absent from schools and academies in Nottingham last year, that’s a drop of 0.3% from the year before.

The biggest drop is in unauthorised absence, which is down 17%.

Schools in Nottingham are bucking the national trend in overall absence, there has been a drop in figures but the national average has increased, meaning the city is narrowing the gap.

Overall Nottingham has moved up the league table going from 147th to 120th out of 151 Local Authorities;

  • Primary Schools are now placed 114 in the country, that’s up 30 places
  • Secondary schools jumped 33 places in the rankings and now sit 114th out of 151

Statistics published by the Department of Education yesterday (11 November) show:

  • The overall absence rate across state-funded primary and secondary schools has dropped 0.3% from 5.1% to 4.8%. Nationally the rate has increased 0.1% to 4.5%
  • The number of people who are, or may become persistent absentees has dropped -0.7% to 4.5%. Nationally there was a smaller decrease of 0.2% to 3.9%.
  • There has been a small increase in ‘illness’ related absence, up 3%. Nationally that increase was 7%

The council has been cracking down on pupil absence and these figures show that the consistent focus on this is really working. Schools and academies are also doing more to celebrate good attendance and offer more attendance incentives to pupils.

Last year pupils with the best attendance were given prizes at a special Lord Mayor’s Attendance Awards at the Council House. Nottingham City Council also joined forces with Capital FM to run an award winning campaign with secondary students to help improve attendance rates. The class from each school with the best attendance record got the chance to go to a top secret gig and watch girl band Neon Jungle.

Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for schools in Nottingham, said: “I would like to congratulate pupils, parents and schools across the City. A lot of work across the partnership has gone into cracking down on school absence and celebrating good attendance. This is making a huge difference. Nottingham is bucking the national trend and really driving down authorised absence.”

Nottingham City Council – as part of its work with the Education Improvement Board –has been working with schools to focus on better attendance. A zero tolerance campaign on absence was launched in 2014, making it clear that the council will take legal action against the parents of pupils who are persistently absent.

 Cllr Webster added: “We’ve taken a tough approach, and it’s working. We’ve cracked down on poor attendance and rewarded good attendance through the Lord Mayor’s Attendance Awards – as well as trying innovative campaigns such as the Get the Gig competition. But our message remains clear: we expect children who are registered with a school to be in school.”

Fines of £60 per parent per child are issued through the courts for unauthorised absence. If this is not paid in 21 days, the fine doubles to £120 per parent, per child. If the fine is still unpaid, courts can impose tougher fines (with court costs) of up to £2,500 – and even have the power to issue prison sentences.

Parents can help their child’s attendance at school by:

  • Making sure their child gets to school on time
  • Not booking holidays during term time
  • Contacting the school the first day a child is off sick.

More help and advice on attendance is available from