“These statistics chime with what we are hearing from schools. Once again many are seeing very severe disruption caused by Covid with high levels of both pupil and staff absence.
“The improvement in the picture we saw in the national data in early March has proved to be a false dawn unfortunately.
“Worryingly, this latest wave of disruption comes as students are preparing for exams in GCSEs, A-levels and other important qualifications. It is an extremely challenging situation.
“It is very clear that the government must as an absolute minimum continue to make available free Covid testing for education settings after 1 April, and that it must extend and simplify financial assistance for the cost of supply cover beyond the end of this term when the current scheme is due to end.”