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Number of vulnerable children attending school rises significantly

The number of vulnerable children attending school has risen, according to Department for Education figures.

Back in April, we reported how just 5 per cent of vulnerable children were attending school. Around 84,000 children attended an educational establishment on Friday 17 April, representing 0.9% of pupils who normally attend. Of those, 24,000 of the children in attendance were classed by schools as vulnerable, down from 29,000 on Friday 3 April.

However, DfE statistics published this week shows that 75,000 of the children in attendance on 21 May were classed by schools as vulnerable, up from 73,000 on 14 May. The DfE estimates that this represents 15% of all children and young people classified as ‘Children in Need’ or who have an Education, Health and Care Plan, up from 14% on 14 May.

There were approximately 244,000 children attending school on 21 May, representing 2.6% of pupils who normally attend. This is a slight increase on 14 May, when approximately 231,000 (2.4%) were in attendance.

The figures also showed that 173,000 of the children in attendance on 21 May were classed by schools as children of critical workers, up from 162,000 on 14 May. The DfE estimates that this represents 6% of all children of critical workers, up from 5% on 14 May.

The government asked education and childcare settings to close from Friday 20 March 2020 to all children except those of critical workers and those classified as vulnerable, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed last night that primary schools will be re-opening on Monday 1 June, starting with Reception, Years 1 and 6 although it will be for parents to decide whether they want to send their children back to school.

Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – summary of returns to 22 May

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