Scotland’s Lost Pupils
FOI requests show dramatic pre-covid increase in long-term absence; think tank calls for more data and more support
Answers to Freedom of Information requests to all local authorities in Scotland have revealed the extent of long-term absence in Scotland’s schools.
The Commission on School Reform, the independent group of education experts set up by the think tank Reform Scotland, asked local authorities how many children were at school less than 50%. The results cover 2016/17 to 2018/19, to ensure the figures were not skewed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The responses revealed that 8,542 pupils were absent more than half the time, not including Midlothian Council (did not respond to repeated requests) and Aberdeen City Council (does not hold the data).
This represents a 17% increase in the two years since 2016/17, and coincides with an increase in the waiting times for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
The full tables can be seen in the Commission’s latest report, Scotland’s Lost Pupils, which can be downloaded below.