Coronavirus: More than 1 million children absent from school

Catherine Gaunt
Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Figures published today show that more than 1m children were out of school last week for Covid reasons.

In primary schools 12 per cent of children were absent on 15 July due to Covid
In primary schools 12 per cent of children were absent on 15 July due to Covid

Covid-related pupil absence in state schools continues to increase and is currently at its highest rate since schools reopened in March. 

While most absences were due to pupils isolating, there has also been a sharp rise in the number of confirmed Covid cases in schools.

The latest school attendance figures published today show that there were 76 per cent of pupils in school on 15 July – meaning that around a quarter were not attending school.

In primary schools Covid absence was 12.1 per cent, up from 9.8 per cent on 8 July and 7.4 per cent on 1 July.

The data for 15 July is not available for early years settings. The early years local authority survey moved to fortnightly from 29 April 2021 with no publication due this week.

Commenting on the most recent school attendance data Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said, ‘The Government’s reasoning behind removing “bubbles” and school isolation requirements was to reduce disruption to children’s education and stop them missing school.

‘The Government’s own modelling predicts that the number of cases among children and young people is only going to get worse by the start of next term. Parents and school leaders will therefore be looking to Government to take urgent action to drive down case numbers among school-age children. They will want to understand the rationale and scientific evidence that underpins the decision not to vaccinate children, and to know what steps the Government is taking to implement alternative safety measures in key areas such as ventilation.

‘Simply doing nothing and hoping for the best next term not only fails to address the problem, it risks making things worse.’

For pupils, Covid-19 related absence includes pupils with a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus, those self-isolating and those on roll in schools closed due to Covid-related reasons. Pupils that are shielding would not be included in these figures.

The Department for Education estimates that 14.3 per cent of all pupils on roll in state-funded schools (adjusted for Y11-13 not expected to attend), did not attend school for Covid-19 related reasons on 15 July. This is up from 11.2 per cent on 8 July and 8.5 per cent on 1 July.

This includes:

  • 34,000 pupils with a suspected case of coronavirus, 0.5 per cent of pupils on roll in open schools
  • 47,000 pupils with a confirmed case of coronavirus, 0.6 per cent of pupils on roll in open schools
  • 774,000 pupils self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus from inside the educational setting, 10.6 per cent of pupils on roll in open schools
  • 160,000 pupils self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus from outside the educational setting, 2.2% of pupils on roll in open schools
  • 35,000 pupils were absent as a result of school closures due to Covid-related reasons (adjusted for Y11-13 not expected to attend), 0.5 per cent of pupils on roll in open schools.

 

Nursery World Print & Website

  • Latest print issues
  • Latest online articles
  • Archive of more than 35,000 articles
  • Free monthly activity poster
  • Themed supplements

From £11 / month

Subscribe

Nursery World Digital Membership

  • Latest digital issues
  • Latest online articles
  • Archive of more than 35,000 articles
  • Themed supplements

From £11 / month

Subscribe

© MA Education 2021. Published by MA Education Limited, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, London SE24 0PB, a company registered in England and Wales no. 04002826. MA Education is part of the Mark Allen Group. – All Rights Reserved