The number of schools in England sending home groups of pupils because of Covid-19 incidents has quadrupled in a week, according to the latest official figures.
Based on attendance last Thursday, they show 4% of schools not fully open because of confirmed or suspected cases – up from 1% the previous week.
This could mean about 900 schools sending home pupils.
Overall attendance has also dipped slightly from 88% to 87%.
This means over a million children were off school that day, whether from Covid-related or other reasons, with more pupils missing from secondary schools than primary.
These are the second set of Department for Education attendance figures since schools returned in the autumn – and they show a significant increase in schools sending home groups of pupils or whole year groups because of concerns about coronavirus.
The figures, based on responses from 76% of state schools, show the situation last week, amid widespread concern about difficulties getting Covid tests for pupils and staff.
- 88% of pupils back in school for start of term
- Children’s commissioner says one in 20 off with Covid-related issues
- Heads warn of staff shortages without Covid tests for teachers
- Booking Covid test like ‘getting Harry Potter tickets’
But they also show the number of schools which were fully open had increased – up from 92% to 94% – because the previous week’s figures included schools that were still carrying out a phased start to the year or holding teacher training days.
The figures show almost no state schools being completely closed – with 99.9% recorded as open.
This combination of more schools completing their reopening – and at the same time more schools sending pupils home because of Covid-19 – meant that the overall attendance figure balanced out as being similar to the previous week, from 88% to 87%.
This is well below what would be expected, with attendance rates usually around 95%.
An even lower proportion of vulnerable children, such as those with a social worker, were recorded as being at school, with an attendance rate of 81%.
- Coronavirus pandemic
Source: Read Full Article