Nearly one in 4 primary-aged youngsters attended faculty in England final week as demand for locations continued to rise throughout the newest lockdown.
Official authorities knowledge confirmed that 23% of pupils in state major faculties have been on website final Thursday, up from 21% final month. Attendance was additionally up in particular faculties, which have been requested to stay open, from 30% in January to 35% final week.
Attendance figures have been rising because the prime minister introduced the beginning of the most recent lockdown on 5 January, closing faculties to all however youngsters of key staff and weak pupils who’re eligible to attend, whereas all different youngsters study remotely.
Since then head lecturers have repeatedly raised security issues, reporting far greater numbers of pupils in attendance in major faculties in contrast with the primary lockdown final March, significantly amongst key staff’ youngsters.
The federal government’s newest attendance knowledge confirmed 16% of all state faculty pupils have been in school on 4 February, up from 15% the week earlier than. Of these, 895,000 have been youngsters of key staff – up from 850,000 on 28 January.
Geoff Barton, common secretary of the Affiliation of College and School Leaders, has raised members’ issues with authorities. He mentioned: “We’ve got requested the Division for Training (DfE) whether or not the variety of youngsters at school at anyone time must be capped in gentle of the truth that the prime minister has urged folks to remain at dwelling and save lives.
“Nonetheless the division seems to be unconcerned and has informed us that it at the moment has no plans to additional cut back attendance. We agree that you will need to have provision for weak youngsters and kids of key staff. However we aren’t certain how there being no higher restrict on this provision squares with the notion of a nationwide lockdown.”
A spokesperson for the Division for Training responded: “Faculties stay open to weak youngsters and kids of vital staff, but when vital staff can work at home and take care of their youngsters on the identical time then they need to accomplish that.”
Whereas numbers in England’s major faculties have continued to rise, attendance in secondary faculties has remained flat at 5%. The numbers of weak pupils have risen total, nonetheless, with 38% of all pupils with an schooling, well being and care plan in attendance on 4 February, up from 34% on 13 January. The DfE figures additionally present that about 45% of all pupils with a social employee on roll in state-funded faculties have been in attendance final Thursday, up from 40%.