ASCL comment on Week 26 school attendance statistics

29/06/2021
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Week 26 school attendance statistics published by the Department for Education today. 
 
Commenting on the Week 26 school attendance statistics published by the Department for Education today, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“These figures show another big week-on-week increase in Covid-related pupil absence.
 
“Each confirmed Covid case has a huge knock-on effect because schools are then required by government rules to trace all close contacts and ask them to self-isolate. This is why the vast majority of Covid-related pupil absence is among close contacts rather than confirmed cases of the illness.
 
“Identifying close contacts and asking them to self-isolate is an incredibly time-consuming process for schools and colleges, and involves yet more educational disruption for the young people concerned.
“It is clear that a different approach is needed in the autumn term but what we have heard so far from the government amounts to no more than vague aspirations and there is still no robust and coherent plan in place.
 
“Schools and colleges need to know the arrangements for next term and the government must ensure that there is sufficient support in place to help them deliver whatever is planned. Staff, parents and pupils deserve clarity, certainty and an end to the disruption that has taken place over the past 15 months.”