School attendance still high in Shire

School attendance remains high across Aberdeenshire
School attendance remains high across Aberdeenshire

School attendance in Aberdeenshire remains high, according to new figures released by the local authority.

Levels have been broadly maintained across the region, remaining at more than 94% in 2017/18, and still over 1% above the levels experienced across Scotland, based on the 2016/17 figures.

The council’s education and children’s services committee will hear today (Thursday) that although the primary and secondary school sectors indicate a lower rate of attendance than those achieved in 2016/17 – down 0.3% and 0.6% respectively – the latest levels remain notably above last year’s Scotland figure of 0.8%.

Banff and Buchan has suffered the highest drop in attendance where the levels in 2016/17 were not sustained and are now down 0.6%.

Although both showed a reduction of 0.2%, Kincardine and Mearns, and Marr, experienced the smallest variation in levels.

Meanwhile, Garioch and Kincardine and Mearns continue to have the highest levels of attendance across the six areas, with attendance remaining at more than 95% in both areas.

In a report to councillors, education director Laurence Findlay states: “Although the absence levels have increased, these rates indicate there has been little change in the relative contribution of authorised and unauthorised absences to the total absence figure over these three sessions.

“In 2017/18, 76% of absences in Aberdeenshire schools were authorised, compared with 76.8% in 2016/17, whilst in 2015/16 it was 77.7%.”

He says this compares “favourably” to Scotland as a whole, where the proportion in 2016/17 for authorised absences was 64.4%.

In the latest biennial national reporting of attendance and absence available from 2016/17, Aberdeenshire attendance ranked fourth highest across all 32 local authorities where it was 1.4% above the median.

The figures for 2017/18, although slightly lower than achieved last year, remain over 1% higher than those across Scotland in 2016/17.