Covid: School attendance falls again after brief boost

School attendance has declined again following two weeks of improvement – with nearly 50,000 more children off last week for Covid-19 related reasons than the week before.

The latest attendance data from the Department for Education (DfE) shows that between 7 and 9 per cent of the pupil population – up to 694,000 children – did not attend school due to coronavirus on December 10.

This represents a 45,000 jump from the previous week.

The number of pupils missing school due to Covid had been decreasing in recent weeks, falling from 876,000 on November 19, but is now increasing again.

The attendance data shows that of the pupils off schools last Thursday, 17,000 pupils were absent with a confirmed case of the virus – up 1,000 from the previous week.

30,000 pupils were off with a suspected case of Covid-19, up 2,000, while the number of pupils off due to their schools being closed leapt from 37,000 to 53,000.

Additionally the number of pupils self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of Covid-19 jumped from 569,000 on December 3 to 594,000 last Thursday.

Overall attendance dropped from 86 to 85 per cent – with primaries dropping from 90 per cent to 89, and the harder hit secondary schools dropping from 81 to 80 per cent.

When schools initially returned in September attendance remained relatively stable, between 89 and 90 per cent up until the October half-term.

However following the break attendance plummeted – reaching its lowest point on November 19 at 83 per cent.

While attendance has slightly recovered in recent weeks it has not reached the number seen prior to half-term.

The proportion of open state schools also fell by 0.3 percentage points to 99.2 per cent.


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