Week 35 2020

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

Published

Introduction

A summary of attendance in education settings from Monday 23 March to Friday 17 July and early years settings from Thursday 16 April to Thursday 27 August.

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. 


Headline facts and figures - 2020

Summary

The education settings survey closed on 17 July, when most schools and colleges closed for summer. A summary of attendance in schools and colleges until the survey closed can be found in the 21 July publication here.

The early years local authority survey continues on a weekly basis and will be published fortnightly during the summer period. Ordinarily, fewer early years settings are open and fewer children are in attendance during school summer holidays. This is due to reduced demand for childcare and the closure of school-based setting

  • The number of children attending an early years setting has increased since 13 August – with 304,000 children attending on 27 August, up from 281,000 on 13 August.
  • Approximately 42% of early years settings were open in some capacity on 27 August, slightly down from 43% on 13 August.
  • Around 9,000 vulnerable children attended an early years setting on 27 August, slightly down from 10,000 on 13 August.

Explore data and files

All data used in this release is available as open data for download


Open data

Browse and download individual open data files from this release in our data catalogue


Guidance

Learn more about the data files used in this release using our online guidance


Create your own tables

You can view featured tables that we have built for you, or create your own tables from the open data using our table tool


Background

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 of critical workers and those classified as vulnerable.

From 1 June, the government asked schools to welcome back children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside children of critical workers and vulnerable children from all years. Early years settings were also asked to begin welcoming back all children from 1 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.

By 17 July, most schools and colleges had closed for the summer holiday. Early years settings typically remain open during the summer holidays.

Education settings survey

To help understand the impact of these decisions, the Department for Education (DfE) established a survey of schools and colleges in England. Schools and colleges are asked to report information to DfE each day, including the number of children and staff in attendance if they are open and when they plan to reopen if they are closed.

Local authority early years survey

To help understand the impact of these decisions, from 6 April 2020, the Department of Education (DfE) asked local authorities (LAs) to regularly report to the DfE information on the number of children in attendance, including the number of settings open or closed. The focus of this survey was narrowed to early years settings from 16 April.

Data coverage

This data release includes data for early years settings from 16 April to 27 August. The education settings survey closed on 17 July, when most schools and colleges closed for summer. A summary of attendance in schools and colleges until the survey closed can be found in the 21 July publication here.

The early years local authority survey will continue on a weekly basis during the summer period, as most settings will continue to make childcare provision. Data on early years attendance will be published on a fortnightly basis, with the next publication on 1 September.

The narrative in this document focuses on Thursday 27 August to maintain comparability with previous weeks

Non-response Adjustment

Local authority early years survey

For the local authority early years survey, figures for the number of settings open and closed and the number of children attending for those LAs which did not respond are estimated based on the proportions reported by LAs which did respond. The national estimate comprises reported figures from LAs which did respond combined with these estimates (see the methodology section). From 1 June onwards, this methodology has been revised to take into account the wider opening of early years settings.

Early years settings

The response rate to the early years local authority survey was 80%, with 121 out of 151 LAs submitting data by 6pm on 27 August. Ordinarily, fewer early years settings are open and fewer children are in attendance during school summer holidays. This is due to reduced demand for childcare and the closure of school-based settings. 

The following figures are adjusted for non-response. More information can be found in the Methodology section of this release.

  • An estimated 29,000 early years settings were open on 27 August. This represents 42% of all settings, with 48% closed and 10% unknown. [1]

------------------------------------------------

[1] Due to rounding, these do not always sum to 100%.

  • We estimate 304,000 children attended early years settings on 27 August, up from 281,000 on 13 August.
  • Approximately 103,000 children of critical workers attended early years settings on 27 August. This represents around 10% of children of critical workers[2] aged 0 to 4 years old. The number of children of critical workers in attendance may be being under-reported from 1 June. This is because some settings may not be differentiating children of critical workers from all children following the wider opening of early years settings.
  • Approximately 9,000 vulnerable children attended early years settings on 27 August. This represents around 10% of 0 to 4 year olds classified as ‘Children in Need’ or who have an Education, Health and Care Plan. [3]

------------------------------------------------

[2] Based on DfE analysis of Labour Force Survey data.

[3] 0 to 4 year olds excluding those in Reception classes. This is an estimate based on the 2019 Children in Need census and January 2019 school census. Attendance rates for vulnerable children are presented as a proportion of the estimated number of children aged 0-4 with an EHCP using formal childcare plus the total number of Children in Need aged 0-4. We do not have estimates of the number of Children in Need who usually use formal childcare, so the attendance rate is presented to allow comparisons to be made over time, rather than the proportion of vulnerable children who would usually attend early years settings.

Help and support

Methodology

Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these statistics

Official statistics

These are Official Statistics and have been produced in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

Contact us

Ask questions and provide feedback

If you have a specific enquiry about Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic statistics and data:

COVID Attendance Statistics

Email
Datarequests.COVID@education.gov.uk

Telephone: Raffaele Sasso
037 0000 2288

Press office

If you have a media enquiry:

Telephone
020 7783 8300

Public enquiries

If you have a general enquiry about the Department for Education (DfE) or education:

Telephone
037 0000 2288

Opening times:
Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays)