According to the UK Government, on the 24th of September this year, approximately 88% of all children on roll in state-funded schools were in attendance and this figure remained stable for three weeks. The BBC reported that this absence rate is higher than the usual figure of approximately 5%, but was not showing whether pupils were at home because of Covid outbreaks.
In state-funded primary schools, attendance actually increased from 88% to 91% from the 17th to 24th of September. In primary schools without nurseries, attendance was around 93% on this date and was higher in fully open state-funded primary schools.
Gov UK states that schools are considered fully open if they are able to provide face-to-face teaching for all pupils on roll for the duration of the school day and where they have not asked any groups of pupils to self-isolate. Where schools are not fully open, most pupils are still attending also.
Since reopening, school leaders have warned that delays in testing are leading to year groups being sent home. It is evident from attendance figures that pupils are keen to be back in school full time and do not want to be missing out on any more of their education than they feel they already have due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The National Association of Head Teachers warned that although the numbers of pupils returning to school was high, problems getting tests was “causing chaos for schools right now and could jeopardise attendance remaining high”. As reported by the BBC, head of Richard Challoner School in Surrey, Sean Maher, said that students wanted to be back in school, but there had been 70 away on one Monday, with many of these absences attributable to the difficulties in getting tests.
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