School attendance rises to 16% as key worker numbers leap

attendance Covid

School attendance has climbed again to around 16 per cent, with 23 per cent of primary pupils now going to school.

Data published by the Department for Education today shows 15.9 per cent of pupils – around 1.29 million children – attended state schools last Thursday, up from 14.9 per cent the week before.

The increase is in part due to a 5 per cent increase in the number of key worker children attending, from 850,000 on January 28 to 895,000 last week.

The proportion of vulnerable pupils attending school also continues to increase. On February 4, 38 per cent of pupils with EHCPs were in attendance, up from 36 per cent the week before. Over the same period, the proportion of children with social workers attending rose from 43 to 45 per cent.

As was seen last week, attendance at primary and special schools has continued to rise while remaining flat at secondary.

Primary attendance rose from 22 to 23 per cent between January 28 and February 4, while special school attendance rose from 33 to 35 per cent. Secondary attendance remains at around 5 per cent.

These rates are much higher than those seen in the first lockdown. Between March and May 2020 average attendance was 4 per cent in primary schools and 1 per cent in secondaries.

Workforce absence data shows that around 2 per cent of teachers and leaders and 3 per cent of TAs and other staff were unable to work on February 4 due to Covid-related reasons, the same as the previous week.

Around 4 per cent of teachers and leaders and 6 per cent of other staff were unable to work on the same day due to other reasons, also the same as on January 28.

The DfE estimates 38 per cent of teachers and school leaders were working on-site on February 4, the same as on January 28. The proportion of TAs and other staff on site increased slightly from 52 to 53 per cent.

Attendance data at local authority level hasn’t been published yet for this term. The DfE said it would publish “local authority level summaries for future dates on a half-termly basis”.

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