DfE scales back school Covid attendance data collection

Schools will only have to fill out educational settings status form weekly from Monday

Schools will only have to fill out educational settings status form weekly from Monday

attendance Covid

The government has announced it will only collect Covid attendance data from schools once a week from next Monday.

In an email to headteachers, the Department for Education said schools would only need to fill out its educational setting status form weekly on Thursdays.

The form has recorded daily attendance for most of the pandemic, and provided important data on the impact of Covid on schools.

The latest data showed more than 180,000 pupils missed school due to Covid on February 10, though attendance reached its highest level since November.

The government will also reduce the number of questions asked, but will still collect data on school closures, attendance and absence rates, cancellation of breakfast or after-school clubs.

Data on the use of the National Tutoring Programme, currently collected every three to six weeks, will also continue.

The DfE said the collection was being cut back “in line with wider Covid-19 changes”.

This would “balance the collection burden on schools and colleges, with the need to collect vital information on the impact of Covid-19 on settings through the next half of term”.

The future use of the form will be reviewed at Easter.

The daily form will “remain open” to report school closures, with settings asked to report these on the day they happen. But apart from closures, schools will only have to complete the form once a week on a Thursday.

The DfE had originally intended to switch to a weekly collection from last October, but U-turned on its decision at the last minute, saying the daily data remained “crucial”.

However, it did proceed with a move to fortnightly reporting of attendance data.

In its email to heads, the DfE encouraged more schools to signed up to its pilot of a live attendance tracker, launched in January in a bid to cut absences.

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