Commenting on the latest Department for Education school attendance figures
published today, showing the proportion of fully open secondary schools decreased from 84% on Thursday 24 September to 82% on Thursday 1 October, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“This is the second week of a downward trend in the number of fully open secondary schools, and means that since September 17 the number that are fully open has fallen by 10% from 92% to 82%. It reflects the extremely tough circumstances in which schools are operating due to the impact of Covid.
“We remain concerned that schools lack the support from the government that they need in this challenging task.
“Ofsted released a report this morning based on 121 school visits in September which says that many leaders saw the lack of availability of Covid testing in their area as a real barrier to getting – or staying – properly up and running again. It reports that leaders also often commented on the lack of clarity in the national and local guidance that they had to draw on. Many said that they received conflicting information from different agencies, or from different parts of the same agency.
“These concerns chime with the reports that ASCL receives from school leaders. The government must redouble its efforts to improve the Covid testing system, and ensure that schools are supported by clear and consistent guidance.”