Week 29 2020

Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Published

A summary of attendance in schools and colleges since Monday 23 March and early years settings since Thursday 16 April.

These statistics have been produced quickly in response to developing world events. The Office for Statistics Regulation, on behalf of the UK Statistics Authority, has reviewed them against several key aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics and regards them as consistent with the Code’s pillars of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value. 

Announcement

From 6pm on 17 July, the education settings status survey closed to all schools and colleges because the summer term ended in most schools and colleges by this date. This is therefore the last publication of school and college attendance statistics for the 2019 to 2020 academic year.

The early years local authority survey will continue to be collected on a weekly basis throughout the summer period, as settings will continue to make childcare provision. Data on early years attendance will be published on a fortnightly basis, with the next publication on 4 August.


Headline facts and figures - 2020

Summary

The education settings survey closed on 17 July, when most schools and colleges closed for summer. The summer term ended earlier than this in some schools and colleges. We have seen slight decreases in some measures during the last two weeks as a result. 

The early years local authority survey will continue on a weekly basis throughout the summer period, and will be published fortnightly.

This is the last publication of school and college attendance statistics for the 2019 to 2020 academic year. We have summarised the key trends during the data collection between 23 March and 17 July below.

Attendance of children from priority groups 

  • In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the government asked early years settings, schools, and colleges to close from Friday 20 March 2020 to all children except those from priority groups: children of critical workers and those classified as vulnerable.
  • During the period that schools and colleges could open only to priority groups, we estimate the proportion open remained broadly stable at approximately 80%, except for holiday periods when fewer were open.
  • Outside of holiday periods, attendance of vulnerable children increased each week. Approximately 24,000 children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or a social worker were in attendance on 2 April, increasing to 52,000 by 21 May. Attendance continued to increase each week following the wider opening of primary and secondary schools in June. Approximately 137,000 children with an EHCP or a social worker were in attendance on 16 July.

Wider opening of primary schools from 1 June

  • From 1 June, the government asked schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside children from priority groups in all years.
  • We estimate around half of primary schools opened to at least one of these year groups in the week commencing 1 June. This increased to around 89% by 25 June and then remained broadly stable.
  • The daily attendance rate of pupils in reception, year 1 and year 6 increased each week from around 15% on 2 June to around 40% on 2 July, and then remained broadly stable.

Wider opening of secondary schools and colleges from 15 June

  • From 15 June, secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges were asked to begin providing face-to-face support to students in year 10 and 12 to supplement their learning from home, alongside full time provision for students from priority groups.
  • We estimate around 60% of secondary schools and colleges opened in the week commencing 15 June to at least one of these year groups. This increased to around 75% by 25 June, and then remained broadly stable.
  • The daily attendance rate of pupils in year 10 and year 12 in schools (excluding colleges) increased from around 10% in the week commencing 15 June to around 13% by 2 July and then remained broadly stable. The Department’s guidance states that schools and colleges are able to have up to a quarter of their year 10 and year 12 cohort in attendance at any one time to reduce the risk of transmission.

Attendance of children in early years settings

  • Early years settings were also asked to begin welcoming back all children from 1 June. We estimate that on 16 July, 417,000 children were attending early years setting – about 25% of the number of children who usually attend in term time.

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