The latest data which match absence with attainment data are available for 2008 and relate to persistent absentees rather than ‘truants'.
In 2008, 7.2 per cent. of persistent absentees in state funded secondary schools attained five or more GCSEs at grade A*-C or the equivalent, including GCSEs in English and mathematics. In 2007 this figure was lower with 6.4 per cent. of persistent absentees attaining five or more GCSEs at grade A*-C or the equivalent, including GCSEs in English and mathematics in state funded secondary schools.
The available information relates to persistent absentees, who are defined as pupils missing approximately 20 per cent. of possible sessions for the relevant statistical reporting period. On an annual basis this threshold is 64 or more sessions of absence, (authorised or unauthorised) during the year. (On a two term, autumn and spring basis, the threshold is typically 52 sessions). Unauthorised absence is defined as absence without leave from a teacher or other authorised representative of the school. This includes all unexplained or unjustified absences, such as lateness, holidays during term time not authorised by the school, absence where reason is not yet established and truancy.