Data on non-attendance in primary and post-primary schools are collected by the Child and Family Agency (TUSLA) through the Annual Attendance Report (AAR) also at the student level through the Student Attendance Report (SAR).
The core AAR dataset consists of four variables: (1) Total number of days lost through student absence in the entire school year, (2) number of students who were absent for 20 days or more in the school year, (3) total number of students expelled in respect of whom all appeal processes have been exhausted, and (4) total number of students who were suspended. The SAR dataset contains data about the type of absences and are categorised as explained (holiday) and unexplained. Only children over the age of 6 years and children who have not reached the age of 16 years or have not completed 3 years of post-primary education, whichever occurs later, are included, in accordance with the legislation which stipulates that attendance is compulsory from ages 6 to 16.
The Centre has been involved in analysing TUSLA data for several years and has recently released a report based on analysis of data for the 2017/18 school year, including additional analysis conducted at the student level. The report integrates data for 2017/18 with summary statistics for a five-year period and examines issues separately for the primary and post-primary sector. For primary schools, data are analysed on the basis of whether the school is in a rural or urban location, disadvantaged status of the school, and by county. For post-primary schools, data are broken-down by school type (community/comprehensive, secondary, vocational), and by county.