Commenting on the Week 25 school attendance statistics
, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“These statistics show a large and extremely worrying increase in the number of children absent from school for Covid-related reasons. It clearly reflects the climbing rate of coronavirus cases in society in general and the prevalence of the Delta variant.
“It means that many pupils and schools are experiencing yet more disruption after more than a year of turbulence and it is a grim way to reach the closing stages of the school year.
“Schools have no choice other than to hang on until the end of term endeavouring to manage this situation, and we can only pay tribute to them for everything they are doing in these extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
“However, the government must think urgently about how to reduce educational disruption in the next academic year after the summer holidays.
“We simply cannot have another term of large numbers of children spending time out of school because of coronavirus. Schools are doing their very best to provide high-quality remote education to pupils who are absent but this can never be a complete substitute for the interaction of in-class teaching.
“This is a crucial and pressing matter because it also has implications for the shape of next year’s public exams in GCSEs, A-levels and other qualifications.”