Background High levels of non-attendance are reported in nurse education programmes even though literal interpretation of UK national guidelines implies mandatory student attendance is a requirement for all elements of pre-registration undergraduate programmes. Objectives To examine relationships between undergraduate student nurse non-attendance, academic performance and progression. Design A quantitative study using audit approaches was undertaken. Participants The records of 1347 undergraduate student nurses who had studied at a university in the north west of England were analysed. Methods Following data coding and input into an SPSS database descriptive and chi-square analyses were conducted to explore the associations between non-attendance rates and age, sex, entry qualifications, year of study and degree classification. Results The characteristics of the sample were that the majority were female, aged under 21 years and had ‘A’ level entry qualifications. Significant chi-square associations were found in regard of age at entry and entry qualifications with degree classification. Significant chi-square associations were also identified between degree classification and non-attendance across all three years of the programme. Conclusions The findings that non-attendance is positively associated with degree outcome across all the three years of study are in keeping with the findings of several studies. Many of these findings will help inform future student attendance policies where the study was conducted and are insightful for other national and international institutions that offer nurse education programmes.