The majority of primary schools that opened this week had more than a fifth of children attending on Monday, new statistics have revealed.
The government’s attendance survey – responded to by 82 per cent of state-funded schools in England – found that 14 per cent of pupils on roll were in school on January 11.
This is a significant increase compared to figures from the first lockdown, which in the week starting March 23 found that attendance was initially above three per cent.
Furthermore at primaries, 53 per cent reported having more than a fifth of children in. Two per cent had more than half of their primary cohort in.
The third lockdown only permits vulnerable pupils and children of key workers to attend schools in England.
However, the wide criteria for key workers – coupled with the fact just one parent has to be a key worker – and the addition of pupils without access to remote education to the vulnerable criteria has caused the rise.
The latest government statistics show that primaries had 20 per cent of pupils in. But secondaries had just four per cent attendance.
Special schools had 29 per cent of pupils attending, and alternative provision schools registered 24 per cent attendance.
Statistics published last year said that attendance during the first week of lockdown was more than three per cent. But that rate fell to 1.3 per cent on March 30, and 0.9 per cent on April 6.
It then increased to 2 per cent in the week of April 24 (following what would have been the Easter break) when about 78 per cent of settings were open.
This Monday’s statistics show that nearly all – 99.2 per cent of responding state schools – were open.
Of the children with education, health and care plans (EHCPs), 34 per cent were in attendance. This was 46 per cent in primaries, 25 per cent in secondaries, 29 per cent in special schools.
Forty per cent of pupils with a social worker were attending. However, the data does not show how many children of key workers are attending “as schools are only able to confirm how many children of critical workers requested a place, rather than how many are on roll”.
The Department for Education said it intends to publish an estimated total number of these children this month.
A full breakdown of data for 11-14 January, following adjustment for non-response, will be published on 19 January, the DfE says.