In England, more than one in five secondary school pupils missed school last week due to Covid disruption, according to the BBC. Latest attendance figures show that 22% of secondary pupils were missing, up from 17% the previous week.
Almost three quarters of secondary schools have sent pupils home leading the biggest teachers’ union warning of an attendance “collapse”.
Mary Bousted, co-leader of the National Education Union commented on almost 900,000 pupils being out of school because of Covid incidents, stating, “The situation has reached a crisis point and the government cannot let coronavirus run riot in schools any longer.”
The leader of the ASCL head teachers’ union, Geoff Barton, also backed the principle of keeping schools open, but said it was time for schools to be allowed to operate rota systems. He added, “The reality behind these figures is that many schools are experiencing disruption on a monumental scale and are desperately trying to cling on to the end of term”.
Josephine Abbott Millar, a parent from Rugby, said “The other parents and I have a WhatsApp group and our phones ping and we’re all filled with dread over which year group is told to isolate next”.
Although the Department for Education in England has been committed to keeping schools open, the weekly figures show that numbers of pupils missing from the classroom is rising. According to the BBC, the drop in attendance is particularly concentrated in secondary schools, with 78% attendance last Thursday, down from 87% the week earlier.
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