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Fewer children in school due to COVID-19 related issues

Fewer children are attending school as attendance has fallen from 89 per cent to 86 per cent, according to Department for Education figures.

Approximately 86% of pupils on roll in state-funded schools, excluding schools on half term, attended school. While attendance in state-funded primary schools is 90%, attendance in state-funded secondary schools is 82%, excluding schools on half term.

“We estimate 557,000 pupils (6-7%) in state-funded schools, excluding schools on half term, did not attend school for COVID-19 related reasons on Thursday 22 October,” said the report.

The figures reported are from Thursday 22 October and compared to Thursday 15 October. The fall in attendance is largely due to an increase in COVID-19 related absence.

This includes:

  • - 10,000 (0.1%) pupils with a confirmed case of coronavirus
  • 33,000 (0.4%) pupils with a suspected case of coronavirus
  • up to 459,000 (4.8 - 6.0%) pupils self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus
  • 55,000 (0.7%) pupils in schools closed for COVID-19 related reasons

“Our additional analysis suggests that the increase in COVID-related absence from 4-5% to 6-7% reflects a national-level increase unrelated to half term. The increase in COVID-related absence accounts for most (approximately two-thirds) of the overall increase in absence between 15 and 22 October,” said the report.

On Thursday 22 October, approximately 26% of state-funded schools, excluding those on half term, reported they had one or more pupils self-isolating who had been asked to do so due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus inside the school (compared to 21% of all state-funded schools last week). This equates to 55% of state-funded secondaries and 20% of state-funded primaries, excluding those on half term, although the vast majority of these schools remain open to most pupils.

A smaller proportion (16-18%) had 30 or more pupils self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus inside the school.

Most groups asked to self-isolate are relatively small, the average was approximately 14% of the total number on roll in state-funded primaries and 6-7% in state-funded secondaries.

The early years local authority survey estimates that 770,000 children are currently attending early years childcare settings – about 59% of the number of children who usually attend childcare in term time. Many children attend early years settings on a part-time basis, and therefore not all children would be in attendance on the day of the data collection.

“On a typical day in the autumn term we expect attendance to be 887,000, due to different and part-time patterns of childcare during the week. We estimate that the 770,000 children currently attending early years settings is approximately 87% of the usual daily level,” the report concluded.

Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

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