attendance Covid

School attendance rose to over 18 per cent in the week after half term, with an increase in secondary attendance for the first time in over a month.

The latest attendance data published by the Department for Education shows attendance on February 25 was at 18.3 per cent, up from 15.9 per cent on February 11.

Twenty-seven per cent of primary pupils attended school on February 25, while 6 per cent of secondary pupils were on-site. These are rises from 24 per cent and 6 per cent respectively on February 11, the week before the half term break.

Secondary attendance figures had previously been static at around 5 per cent since mid-January. Attendance in special schools, which have generally had higher attendance because all children with education, health and care plans are eligible to attend, rose from 35 per cent on February 11 to 44 per cent last week.

It follows the announcement on February 22 that all schools will reopen more widely next week, with all primary pupils expected to return on Monday and secondary pupils to go back throughout the week to facilitate mass testing.

Schools have been closed to all but the most vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers since January 5.

Around a million key worker children attended school on February 25, up from 894,000 on February 11. The proportion of pupils with an education health and care plan attending also rose from 38 per cent on February 11 to 45 per cent last week. The proportion of children with a social worker in attendance also rose, from 44 per cent on February 11 to 50 per cent on February 25.

Last week also saw increases in the proportion of staff working on-site. The DfE estimates 41 per cent of teachers and school leaders were working on-site last Thursday, up from 38 per cent on February 11.

However, there were big variations between settings. Teacher and leader attendance was at 55 per cent in primary schools, 24 per cent in secondary schools and 70 per cent in special schools.

Around 58 per cent of teaching assistants and other schools staff were working on-site last Thursday, up from 54 per cent on February 11.

The DfE has also published attendance data broken down by local authority and region. It said attendance in state schools was highest in the south west and in Yorkshire and the Humber in the first half of the spring term, and lowest in London and the east of England.