Commenting on the Week 49 school attendance statistics
, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“We are pleased that attendance improved last week and that fewer schools had to send home children to self-isolate. This suggests that the recent national lockdown has had a positive effect on reducing transmission of the virus and we are hugely grateful to people across England for the effort and sacrifices they have made.
“However, the disruption in schools remains very significant despite this improved picture, and there is a great deal of variability between and within regions. Many schools are struggling with large numbers of pupils and staff having to self-isolate, and are operating under huge pressure.
“We are calling on the government to prioritise school staff for the new Covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible. We recognise that the vaccine has to be rolled out in a sequence to priority groups but the government should ensure school staff are high up in that list.
“This would greatly ease the pressure in schools of staff absence due to Covid, helping to keep them open and fully functioning, and it would provide extra reassurance to staff who are being asked to work in environments which are inherently busy and crowded.”