Commenting on the Week 20 school attendance statistics
, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“We are pleased that pupil attendance has remained stable despite concerns about the spread of the Indian coronavirus variant.
“We cannot stress enough how difficult any disruption is at this time with schools and colleges managing the assessment of students for GCSEs, A-levels and other qualifications following the cancellation of public exams.
“Any increase in coronavirus cases has the potential to cause further problems for students who have already been impacted by lockdowns over the past year, and for the staff who are endeavouring to assess them.
“In the longer term, we are going to need a plan to minimise the potential for educational disruption caused by the emergence of new variants.
“Not only are there currently no plans to provide vaccines to pupils, or to prioritise vaccines for currently unvaccinated staff, but the existing Covid protocols mean that every positive case results in a wider group of close contacts having to self-isolate.
“The potential for ongoing educational disruption is obvious and this will need to be tackled in order to ensure that stability is maintained in the future.”