Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders.
Commenting on the latest school attendance statistics
published today, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“It is clear from these figures that the reduction in Covid-related pupil and staff absence after half term has been short-lived and that this disruption has risen very sharply once again.
“In the space of just two weeks the number of pupils out of school because of the impact of the virus has increased by nearly 80,000 to a total of 208,000 absences.
“Schools are also having to cope with an increased rate of staff absence which makes the demands of delivering simultaneous in-class and remote education to different groups of pupils even more challenging.
“The emergence of the Omicron variant seems likely to make this situation worse.
“We have repeatedly called for more government support for schools and colleges in addressing these extreme pressures.
“The government must do much more to publicly promote the importance of twice-weekly lateral flow home testing among eligible pupils, fully fund air cleaning units for schools and colleges, and properly resource the on-site testing it has asked secondary schools to provide at the start of the spring term.