ASCL comment on Week 46 attendance statistics

17/11/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Week 46 attendance statistics from the Department for Education. 
 
Commenting on the Week 46 attendance statistics from the Department for Education, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
 
“These figures show a huge increase in the number of secondary schools having to send home pupils to self-isolate.
 
“It is clear that the improvement we saw following the half-term holiday was temporary and that the situation has worsened again very quickly.
 
“Disruption is widespread and is happening in an ad hoc manner because of the unpredictability of outbreaks.
 
“This makes it very difficult for schools to be able to plan and deliver lessons and catch-up support. This is exacerbated if there are also members of staff having to self-isolate.
 
“We understand the government’s desire to keep all pupils in school full-time.
 
“But when nearly two-thirds of secondaries are sending home pupils we have a chaotic rota system by default.
 
“Schools need to be given more latitude to move to a planned rota system if they feel that this would be less disruptive, more manageable, and in the best interests of their pupils.
 
“It would give them the ability to deliver direct and remote learning around smaller groups rotating between school and home in a planned manner.
 
“The government has to recognise reality. The current situation is unsustainable.”