Persistent Absence FAQ

In this article you'll find details on how Arbor classifies a student as a Persistent Absentee and how to check why a student is or is not a Persistent Absentee.


How does a student become a Persistent Absentee (PA)?

When a student’s annual attendance drops below 90%, they become a persistent absentee. Their attendance can improve throughout the year and if it goes above 90% again, they will no longer be classed as a Persistent Absentee.

In a normal school year, the DfE says that students should attend at least 380 sessions or 190 days. You can take a look at the DfE's guidance on page 17 here.

Therefore, students who miss 38 sessions/19 days or more throughout the year will be classed as a Persistent Absentee for that academic year (as their attendance drops below 90%).

What are sessions?

There are two sessions in each school day - morning (AM) and afternoon (PM). The times of these sessions are determined by you as a school (roll call times). You can take a look at how to view your roll call times here.

How can I see who my Persistent Absentees (PAs) are?

You can go to Students > Attendance > Absentees > Persistent Absentees. We have more information here that you can take a look at.

I have two students that have missed the same number of days, but only one is classed as a Persistent Absentee (PA), why is this?

A factor that can impact your PA data is the date on which a student started at your school.

 For example, say a student started with you at the beginning of Spring Term (start of January) and there are 25 weeks left of the Academic Year (250 sessions/125 days).


The threshold of Student B becoming a PA is lower than Student A's.

I have a student that was a PA, but is no longer showing as a PA. Why is this?

Throughout the year your PA figures will fluctuate as the year goes on, as the number of possible attendance sessions the data is based on will increase.

Arbor will calculate Persistently Absent students on a year to current date basis, i.e., if today was 29 September and your school year started on 01 Sept, it will calculate students who have missed 10% or more during this time.

For example, a student is absent 16 sessions (8 days) during this time their attendance would be 60%


If that student did not miss any more sessions throughout the academic year, they would finish on 95.79%



Reporting/Viewing Possible Session Attendance

Attendance Certificate

You can view possible sessions of attendance via the student’s attendance certificate. We have more information on Attendance Certificates here.

Head to the student’s profile. On the left click Attendance > Attendance Certificate then Download Attendance Certificate




Custom Report Writer

Click the link at the bottom of this article to download our report, then follow our upload instructions hereUsing the report, you can see how many sessions a student has attended, compared with how many they have been marked absent for. When we add these totals together this will give us a total number of sessions in which a student could attend.



The Total Possible Sessions column is a calculation field, and you will need to add the calculation. To do this, Edit your report. Click the pencil icon for the Total possible column.



In the slide over, remove the text in the Formula field, and add in the new formula using the merge fields. Then your report will display the correct totals.



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