Partial closures in the spring term led to pupils missing 219 million days of being in school, according to new government data.
Absence data for the spring term of 2021 shows 57.5 per cent of physical school sessions were missed because of Covid between the start of term in January and the beginning of the Easter holidays. That is equivalent to 219 million days, and up from around 5 per cent in a normal spring term.
In comparison, in autumn 2020 when there were no nationwide school closures but widespread disruption to schooling as a result of Covid, the equivalent of 33 million days in school were missed due to the virus.
The government announced in early January that schools would close again to all but the most vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers. Most pupils were educated remotely between then and mid-March, when pupils started to return to the classroom.
Non-Covid-related absence in the spring term stood at 3.3 per cent, or 12.5 million days. This is lower than the usual absence rate for the same period.