Week 3 2021

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

Published
Last updated
See all updates (4) for Week 3 2021
  1. An error was identified that affected absence rates for ‘teaching assistants and other staff’ for the period 12 October to 17 December published on 19 January. This error affected national level absence rates for ‘teaching assistants and other staff’ published in underlying data table 1D and included in the narrative of the 19 January publication. This data has now been corrected.

  2. An error has been identified that affects absence rates for ‘teaching assistants and other staff’ for the period 12 October to 17 December published on 19 January. This error affects national level absence rates for ‘teaching assistants and other staff’ published in underlying data table 1D and included in the narrative of the 19 January publication. This data has been removed and will be corrected as soon as possible. Known users of this data are being contacted directly to inform them of this error.

  3. The number of children of critical workers in attendance was incorrectly reported as 709,000. The correct figure of 820,000 has now been updated.

  4. Footnotes updated

Introduction

A summary of attendance in education settings from Monday 23 March to Thursday 14 January (excluding out of term dates as data not collected) and early years settings from Thursday 16 April to Thursday 14 January. The data covers England only. 

This publication provides a high-level summary of estimates from the Department for Education's education settings survey and local authority early years survey. Further data at national and local authority level is available in the underlying data.

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.

Absence rates for ‘teaching assistants and other staff’ for the period 12 October to 17 December were corrected on 28 January.

An error was identified that affected national level absence rates for ‘teaching assistants and other staff’ published in underlying data table 1D and included in the narrative of the 19 January publication. This data, including the 19 January narrative, were corrected on 28 January.

The corrected data shows that teaching assistants and other staff have broadly similar absence rates to teachers and school leaders. A full list of affected measures and further detail about the cause of this error is available in the ‘Workforce absence in state-funded schools’ section. Data used by government as management information (as set out in the ‘data sharing’ section) was unaffected. We are contacting known users of this data directly to alert them to this correction.

We take the issue of data quality very seriously and we would like to apologise for this error. 

Expansion of publication content in future releases

We will publish local authority level summaries for future dates on a half-termly basis. 

Data sharing

Data collected from the Education Settings Survey is shared as management information across national and local government for operational purposes. As part of the data share we explicitly highlight that the information is for internal purposes only and should not be shared more widely. The limitations of the data, which include variables with missing values, responses not being validated or issues being thoroughly investigated are highlighted to ensure recipients are aware that decisions should not be made in isolation and the risks of making conclusions based on the data alone. We engage with local users to try to prevent the data being shared inappropriately. Where we identify misuse of the data we work with those in receipt of the data to understand how it happened and to reduce the likelihood it will happen again.

Information shared across government includes variables that we have made a conscious decision not to share more widely at the present moment for a number of reasons including the quality of the data which could misinform or confuse users, however, they may provide useful insight for operational purposes, particularly at a local level.

The department is continuously reviewing what and how information collected from the survey is disseminated and we will endeavour to publish data at the earliest opportunity.


Headline facts and figures - 2021

From 5 January, schools were asked to provide on-site education for vulnerable children and children of critical workers only. Settings were not required to complete the educational settings survey between 5 and 8 January while the survey was updated to reflect these changes. From Monday 11 January, schools were asked to complete an updated version of the survey. 

Workforce absence data from the education settings survey at national and local level and responses to the early years local authority survey at local level are included in this publication for the first time. For workforce absences, see the ‘Workforce absence in state-funded schools’ section of this publication and the underlying data tables 1C and 1D. For early years data at local authority level, see the underlying data table 5.

State-funded schools

Data from Monday 11 January to Thursday 14 January is available in the underlying data. This commentary usually compares Thursday-to-Thursday. Here, where measures are comparable to before the Christmas break, commentary will compare Wednesday 13 January to Wednesday 16 December. This is due to heavy snowfall in northern England affecting school open rates on Thursday 14 January and a decrease in response rates on Thursday 17 December which make estimates for this date less reliable. 

Open rates

  • On 13 January, over 99% of state-funded schools were open to children of critical workers and vulnerable children. This is higher than March to May 2020, when schools were previously asked to open only to children of critical workers and vulnerable children. Around 80% of schools were open in May 2020.

Pupil on-site attendance

  • During the 2020/21 autumn term, average on-site attendance in state-funded schools was 86%. Following the restriction of attendance to vulnerable children and children of critical workers only, on-site attendance dropped to 14% in state-funded schools on 13 January. Pupils not attending on-site should receive remote education.
  • Attendance on 13 January was 21% in state-funded primary schools, 5% in state-funded secondary schools and 30% in state-funded special schools. Attendance is higher than March to May 2020: on-site attendance was approximately 4% in state-funded primaries, 1% in state-funded secondaries and 8% in state-funded special schools in May 2020.
  • Approximately 34% of all pupils with an EHCP on roll in state-funded schools were in attendance on 13 January, down from 75% on 16 December. Approximately 40% of all pupils with a social worker on roll in state-funded schools were in attendance on 13 January, down from 76% on 16 December [1].
  • Approximately 820,000 children of critical workers were in attendance on 13 January. This represents 72% of all pupils in attendance on 13 January. Note that this excludes children of critical workers attending school due to being identified as a vulnerable child.

Workforce on-site

  • We estimate 39% of teachers and school leaders were working on-site in open settings on 13 January, this figure was 50% in primary schools, 24% in secondary schools and 62% in special schools.
  • We estimate 51% of teaching assistants and other staff were working on-site in open settings on 13 January, this figure was 57% in primary schools, 36% in secondary schools and 58% in special schools.

Early years settings

  • The early years local authority survey continues on a weekly basis. We estimate 566,000 children are currently attending early years childcare settings on Thursday 14 January – about 38% of the number of children who usually attend childcare in term time [2]. Due to many children attending EY settings on a part-time basis, we would not expect all children to be in attendance on the day of the data collection. On a typical day in the Spring term we expect attendance to be 1,052,000, due to different and part-time patterns of childcare during the week [3]. We estimate that the 566,000 children currently attending early years settings is approximately 54% of the usual daily level.

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

[1]  Pupils with a social worker are considered ‘children in need’. Our analysis after adjusting for non-response suggests that schools may be under-reporting the number of children with a social worker when compared to the most recently published children in need statistics. Therefore these estimates only account for pupils with a social worker that are identified by schools. Schools report on the form how many children with a social worker (SW) they have on roll. Our analysis suggests that the total number of children with a SW differs by at least 30% compared to published figures for children with a social worker. This means our attendance figures for pupils with a social worker are likely to overestimate attendance.

[2] The number of children in term time was estimated using outputs from the Childcare and early years survey of parents: 2019 and ONS National Population Projections: 2018 based. 

[3] LAs are asked to send attendance in EY settings on a typical day of the week. We have calculated normal expected daily attendance based on estimates of the average number of days a child spends in formal childcare on any given day, using the Childcare and early years survey of parents: 2019. For further details please see the methodology section. 

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


All supporting files

All supporting files from this release are listed for individual download below:

List of all supporting files

Background

Between March 2020 and the end of the summer term, schools were asked to limit attendance to reduce transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). The timeline is summarised below:

  • From Friday 20 March 2020, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the government asked early years settings, schools, and colleges to close 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. Primary schools were given the flexibility to bring back pupils in other year groups, where they have space to do so.
  • By 17 July, most schools and colleges had closed for the summer holiday. 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 term-time only and school-based settings.

In the 2020/21 autumn term, all pupils, in all year groups, were expected to return to school full-time.

Ahead of the start of the 2021/21 spring term, the Government asked schools to make the following arrangements for week commencing 4 January:

  • Primary schools to provide on-site education to all pupils from their first day of term, except those in areas where contingency framework guidance applied. In areas affected by the framework, primary schools were asked to provide on-site education for vulnerable children and children of critical workers only.
  • Secondary schools to provide on-site education to vulnerable children and children of critical workers only in week commencing 4 January.
  • Special schools to provide on-site education for all pupils, however they were given flexibility to phase return of pupils.
  • Alternative provision to provide on-site education for all pupils.

On 4 January, the Government asked schools to provide on-site education for vulnerable children and children of critical workers only from 5 January. Settings were not required to complete the educational settings survey between 5-8 January while it was changed to reflect these new arrangements. The survey reopened on Monday 11 January.

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.

The education settings survey was open between 23 March and 17 July 2020 and then reopened on 1 September 2020. The survey questions were changed on 1 September 2020 to reflect the expectation that all schools should prepare to open to all pupils. Additional changes to questions were made on 12 October 2020, detailed information on these amendments can be found in the methodology.

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. 

The early years local authority survey continues on a weekly basis. 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 term-time only and school-based settings. Some children returned to early years settings on week commencing 31 August, with many more returning on week commencing 7 September.

The volume and percentage of children in attendance from 10 September is not directly comparable with the previous data points due to a break in the time series. The number of three-year-olds eligible for funded childcare, and therefore attending early years settings, increases through the academic year. Attendance in settings decreases in the autumn when children move to reception. For more details on the break in the time series, please see the methodology section. 

Data coverage

This data release includes data from the education settings survey from 23 March to 14 January (excluding out of term dates as data was not collected) and early years settings from 16 April to 14 January. 

The narrative in this document focuses on Wednesday 13 January for education settings and Thursday 14 January for early years settings.

Data for education settings is included in the underlying data from Wednesday 9 September because this was the first time fewer than 1% of schools reported inset days since the survey reopened on Tuesday 1 September.

Non-response adjustment

Education settings survey

Non-response adjustments made to published figures from 9 September 2020 are summarised here. For the non-response adjustment methodology made to published figures from 23 March to 16 July 2020, see the July 21 publication. Non-response adjustments have not been made to local authority level data, see the ‘Attendance by local authority’ section for more information.

The response rate among state-funded schools was 86% on 13 January. Open rate and attendance figures for state-funded schools in this release are adjusted to account for those that did not respond to the survey.

Methodology in 2020/21 autumn term

The methodology used from 9 September assumes that state-funded schools that did not respond were no more likely to be closed, ask pupils to self-isolate or have lower attendance than responding state-funded schools. This follows analysis of response patterns, data collected from a sample of non-responding schools, and comparison with data collected through regular phone calls between DfE and local authorities to identify any closed schools. Figures for state-funded schools have been weighted to take account of differences in response rate between different school types.

To reflect the number of local authorities that were on half-term, adjustments were made to the methodology for figures between 19 and 23 October and 2 November.

Response rates among state-funded schools fell on 17 December by 7 percentage points compared to the previous day. Some schools reported inset days or non-COVID related closures on 17 December (1% of responders). Schools are not required to complete the form if on a planned holiday, such as Christmas break and, previously, decreases in response rates have been associated with an increase in school closures. As a result, it is likely there is a greater proportion of closures among non-responders than responder and we do not know the distribution of these between i) COVID-related closures and ii) schools starting Christmas holidays or having inset days as planned. Therefore, estimates for 17 December are less reliable than previous days and likely over-estimate open and attendance rates. Comparisons within the commentary here made here with Wednesday 16 December instead. Data for 17 December is still available in the underlying data.

Methodology in 2020/21 spring term

The methodology used from 11 January assumes that state-funded schools that did not respond were no more likely to be closed to vulnerable children and critical worker children or have lower attendance than non-responding schools.

This follows analysis of response patterns and data collected from a sample of non-responding schools to identify any closed schools. This found that up to 10% of non-responding state-funded primary schools and state-funded special schools were closed, compared to less than 1% and around 1% of responding schools respectively. Adjusting for this would reduce open rates for these school types by up to 1 percentage points, but would have a negligible impact on attendance rates (less than 0.5%) given high response rates (over 80%) and relatively low attendance rates. Therefore, no adjustments have been made at this time but we will continue to review the non-response methodology. Figures for state-funded schools have been weighted to take account of differences in response rate between different school types.

Response rates for independent schools are lower than other settings (less than 60%) and, following review of a sample of non-responding independent schools, we found non-responding independent schools were more likely to be closed than responders. Figures for independent schools have not been adjusted to account for this response bias and are presented based on responding schools only.

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.

Open status for state-funded schools

  • 18,600 state-funded schools [4] responded to the survey on 13 January. This represents 86% of all state-funded schools. All figures for state-funded schools in this release are adjusted for non-response, more information can be found in the Methodology section of this release.
  • 99.4% of state-funded schools were open on 13 January to children of critical workers and to vulnerable children. This compares to 98.5% of schools open on 16 December and approximately 80% in May 2020, when schools were previously asked to open only to children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

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

[4] All figures are for state-funded schools. State-funded schools are primary, secondary, special schools and alternative provision. Further education colleges, post-16 special institutions and independent schools are not included in these figures, however estimates for these settings are included in the ‘Open status and attendance by type of school or college’ section of this publication.

Attendance in state-funded schools

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January 2021 only children of critical workers and vulnerable children and young people should attend school or college. All pupils in special schools and alternative provision are eligible to attend as vulnerable children. All other pupils and students should receive remote education. Pupils who are self-isolating should not attend school and clinically extremely vulnerable pupils are also advised not to attend school.

  • During the 2020/21 autumn term, the average on-site attendance in state-funded schools was 86%. Following the restriction of on-site attendance to vulnerable children and children of critical workers, on-site attendance dropped to 14% in state-funded schools on 13 January. Pupils not attending on-site should receive remote education.
  • Attendance on 13 January was 21% in state-funded primary schools, 5% in state-funded secondary schools and 30% in state-funded special schools. Attendance is higher than March to May 2020: on-site attendance was approximately 4% in state-funded primaries, 1% in state-funded secondaries and 8% in state-funded special schools in May 2020.
  • Among open primary schools, 9% reported less than 10% attendance, 43% less than 20% and 99% less than 50%.
  • Among open secondary schools, 91% reported less than 10% attendance, 99% less than 20% and almost 100% [5] less than 50%.
  • Among open special schools, 5% reported less than 10% attendance, 26% less than 20% and 86% less than 50%.

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

[5] Note that this figure is rounded to the nearest percentage point and a very small proportion (less than 0.5%) of secondary schools reported attendance over 50%.

Vulnerable children in state-funded schools

The definition of vulnerable children and young people includes children who have a social worker, an education, health and care plan (EHCP) or who may be vulnerable for another reason at local discretion. Schools are expected to allow and strongly encourage vulnerable children and young people to attend and parents/carers of vulnerable children and young people are strongly encouraged to take up the place. 

Attendance of pupils with an EHCP and pupils with a social worker is ordinarily lower than other pupils [6].

  • Approximately 34% of all pupils with an EHCP on roll in all state-funded schools were in attendance on 13 January, down from 75% on 16 December.
  • Approximately 40% of all pupils with a social worker on roll in all state-funded schools were in attendance on 13 January, down from 76% on 16 December. Pupils with a social worker are considered ‘children in need’. Our analysis after adjusting for non-response suggests that schools may be under-reporting the number of children with a social worker when compared to the most recently published children in need statistics [7]. Therefore these estimates only account for pupils with a social worker that are identified by schools.

Critical worker children in state-funded schools

Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors. Children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. This includes parents who may be working from home. 

  • Approximately 709,000 children of critical workers were in attendance on 13 January. This represents 72% of pupils in attendance. Note that this figure excludes children of critical workers attending school due to being identified as a vulnerable child.

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

[6]  The attendance of pupils with EHCPs and children in need is typically lower than for other pupils. In the 2018/19 academic year, the overall absence rate was 8.7% for pupils with a statement of SEN or an EHCP and 11.4% for children in need see Pupil absence in schools statistics and characteristics of children in need statistics  publication for more information. There are some differences in the calculation of these figures and our estimates that affect comparability.  See our methodology for more details.  

[7] Statistics: children in need and child protection Schools report on the form how many children with a social worker (SW) they have on roll. Our analysis suggests that the total number of children with a SW differs by at least 30% compared to published figures for children with a social worker.

Workforce absence in state-funded schools

Correction to workforce absence data for teaching assistants and other staff on 28 January

Workforce absence data from the education settings survey at national and local level were included in this publication for the first time on 19 January.

An error was identified that affected national level absence rates for ‘teaching assistants and other staff’ published in underlying data table 1D and included in the narrative of the 19 January publication. This data, including the 19 January narrative, was corrected on 28 January.

Absence rates at local authority level in table 1C, equivalent national-level absence rates for ‘teachers and school leaders’ and the number of ‘teaching assistants and other staff’ absent for each reason in table 1D were unaffected. This meant absence rates were overreported for ‘teaching assistants and other staff’ at national level. The corrected data shows that teaching assistants and other staff have broadly similar absence rates to teachers and school leaders. For example, on Wednesday 16 December, approximately:

  • 4.4% of teachers and school leaders and 4.0% of teaching assistants and other staff were absent for COVID-related reasons.
  • 3.9% of teachers and school leaders and 4.0% of teaching assistants and other staff were absent for other reasons.

This error affected grossed data produced for publication. Data used by government as management information, as set out in the ‘data sharing’ section, was unaffected. We are contacting known users of this data directly to alert them to this correction.

This error was caused by a mistake in our systems which apply our grossing methodology after data is submitted by schools to create national level estimates. An incorrect grossed denominator was used for the number of teaching assistants and other staff. This denominator was too small, which resulted in inflated percentages being published. We take the issue of data quality very seriously and we would like to apologise for this error. We will review how this was missed through our checking processes to improve them in future. 

The table below summarises the measures that were affected.

Measure descriptionColumn name
Number of TAs and other staff on rollnumber_of_teaching_assistants_and_other_staff_on_roll
Proportion of TAs and other staff absent with a confirmed case of COVID-19proportion_of_teaching_assistants_and_other_staff_ absent_with_a_suspected_case_of_covid_19

Proportion of TAs and other staff absent with a suspected case of COVID-19

 

proportion_of_teaching_assistants_and_other_staff_ absent_with_a_confirmed_case_of_covid_19

Proportion of TAs and other staff absent due to self-isolation because of potential contact with a case of coronavirus inside the school

 

proportion_of_teaching_assistants_and_other_staff_ isolating_due_to_contact_in_school

Proportion of TAs and other staff absent due to self-isolation because of potential contact with a case of coronavirus outside the school

 

proportion_of_teaching_assistants_and_other_staff_ isolating_due_to_contact_outside_school
Proportion of TAs and other staff absent for other reasonsproportion_of_teaching_assistants_and_other_staff_ absent_for_non_covid_19_reasons

Workforce absence in state-funded schools

Workforce absence data from the education settings survey at national and local level are included in this publication for the first time. This data is reported directly by schools via DfE's daily education settings survey. 

It is not the primary source of data on infection, incidence and COVID-19 cases overall. Further detail can be found within the coronavirus in the UK dashboardnational COVID-19 surveillance reports and coronavirus infection survey pilot statistics.

Available data at national and local authority level

From 12 October, the survey of educational settings asked schools for the following information for i) teachers and school leaders and ii) teaching assistants and other staff:

  • Number on roll at the setting
  • Number absent with a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • Number absent with a suspected case of COVID-19
  • Number absent due to self-isolation because of potential contact with a case of coronavirus inside the school
  • Number absent due to self-isolation because of potential contact with a case of coronavirus outside the school
  • Number absent for other reasons

Interpretation of workforce absence data

Workforce absences are not known in closed schools.

  • This means these figures are likely to be under-estimates of the numbers of workforce with confirmed or suspected cases and self-isolating, particularly when the proportion of schools closed for COVID-19 related reasons is higher.

Absence rates for teaching assistants and other staff are likely to be less robust as more work part-time.

  • There are likely to be inconsistencies in how schools treat part time staff in their reported data, for example some may update their on roll numbers daily to account for part-time staff ‘expected’ to be on-site and others may not.

For the local authority level workforce absence data, please see notes on interpretation in the ‘Local authority level data’ section of the methodology.

Summary of workforce absence in the 2020/21 autumn term

Charts 3 and 4 show absence rates by reason for absence between 12 October and 17 December for i) teachers and school leaders and ii) teaching assistants and other staff respectively.

  • Absence was highest for ‘other reasons' followed by self-isolation throughout the autumn term.
  • The proportion isolating due to contact inside the school increased from early to mid-November. This proportion then fell in December, but not to levels seen in October.

On Wednesday 16 December, we estimate approximately 4.4% of teachers and school leaders and 4.0% of teaching assistants and other staff were absent for COVID-related reasons. This includes:

  • 0.9% of teachers and school leaders and 0.7% of teaching assistants and other staff with a confirmed case of coronavirus.
  • 0.4% of teachers and school leaders and 0.2% of teaching assistants and other staff with a suspected case of coronavirus.
  • 2.1% of teachers and school leaders and 2.0% of teaching assistants and other staff self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus inside the school.
  • 1.1% of teachers and school leaders and 0.9% of teaching assistants and other staff self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus outside the school.

3.9% of teachers and school leaders and 4.0% of teaching assistants and other staff  were absent for other reasons.

Charts 5 and 6 show overall absence rates at regional level between 12 October and 17 December for i) teachers and school leaders and ii) teaching assistants and other staff respectively.

  • Until December, workforce absence rates were highest in the West Midlands and Yorkshire and The Humber and lowest in the South West, South East and East of England. In December, absence rates were highest in London, the South East and East of England.

Workforce attendance in the 2020/21 spring term

Under the national lockdown, the expectation is that everybody should work from home where possible. School leaders are expected to determine the workforce that is required in their school, taking into guidance for those staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable. Where possible it is expected that those staff not working on-site school will work from home.

  • We estimate 39% of teachers and school leaders and 51% of teaching assistants and other staff are working on-site in open settings on 13 January. This is published by type of school or college in the section ‘Open status and attendance by type of school or college’.

Open status and attendance by type of school or college

Response rate varies between school or college types, therefore some are more sensitive to the non-response methodology than others. Response rates were lower among some setting types, particularly independent schools, which means there is greater uncertainty around their estimates.

  • Attendance was highest in state-funded special schools (30%) and alternative provision (25%), where all pupils are eligible to attend as vulnerable children
  • Attendance was lower in state-funded secondaries (5%) than state-funded primaries (21%)
  • In state-funded primary schools, 77% of the pupils in attendance were children of critical workers compared with 62% in state-funded secondary schools.
  • Our attendance in alternative provision estimates may be depressed due to alternative provision reporting dual-registered pupils as on roll. Pupils dual-registered with a mainstream setting are not required to attend alternative provision full-time.

Table 1: Response rate and estimates of % open  and % attendance by school or college type on 13 January

Setting type% response rate% open  [8]          % attendance [9] % children with an EHCP attendance% children with a social worker attendance% children attending as critical workers
State-funded primary 86%99.4%21%47%51%77%
State-funded secondary87%99.8%5%25%24%62%
State-funded special 86%98.3%30%30%42%-
State-funded alternative provision79%99%25%36%33%-
All state-funded schools 86%99.4%14%34%40%72%
Independent schools [10]58%93%11%41%50%61%
Special post-16 institutions76%93% ----
FE colleges 87%96% ----
  • Workforce on-site attendance is highest in settings with the highest pupil attendance, state-funded special schools and alternative provision.

Table 2: Estimates of % on-site workforce attendance in open settings by school or college type on 13 January

Setting type% response rate% of teachers and school leaders on-site% of teaching assistants and other staff
State-funded primary 86%50%57%
State-funded secondary87%24%36%
State-funded special 86%62%58%
State-funded alternative provision79%60%56%
All state-funded schools 86%39%51%
Independent schools [10]58%28%33%
Special post-16 institutions76%78%71%
FE colleges 87%7%11%

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

[8] Open rates are rounded to 1dp for state-funded primary, state-funded secondary and all state-funded schools. For other phases, rates are reported to 0dp and where 100% of settings report they are open, this is reported as 99% given level of uncertainty around these estimates due to lower response rates and/or small population sizes.

[9] Attendance rates are not yet reported for FE colleges or special post-16 institutions as we develop a methodology to account for the fact that some learners attend part-time.

[10]  Figures for independent schools are unlikely to be representative. We looked at a sample of non-responding school websites across different phases to assess whether they were open to children of key workers and vulnerable children. This was to enable us to assess whether non-responding schools were as likely to be open as the responding schools. For independent schools, we found evidence that non-responding schools were more likely to be closed than responding schools. Open rates and attendance rates for independent schools are likely to be lower than reported here. 

Early years settings

The response rate to the early years local authority survey was 85%, with 128 out of 151 LAs submitting data on 14 January.

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

  • An estimated 52,000 early years settings were open on 14 January. This represents 76% of all settings, with 11% closed and 12% unknown [11]. The percentage closed may include some providers which are open, due to differences in the ways local authorities collect data and report non-responses. This is currently being reviewed.
  • We estimate 566,000 children attended early years settings on 14 January, up from 542,000 on 7 January. This represents approximately 38% of the number of children who usually attend childcare in term time [12].
  • Due to many children attending EY settings on a part-time basis, we would not expect all children to be in attendance on the day of the data collection. On a typical day in the Spring term we expect attendance to be 1,052,000. We estimate that the  566,000 children currently attending early years settings is approximately 54% of the usual daily level [13].

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

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

[12] The number of children in term time was estimated using outputs from the Childcare and early years survey of parents: 2019 and ONS National Population Projections: 2018 based.

[13] LAs are asked to send attendance in EY settings on a typical day of the week. We have calculated normal expected daily attendance based on estimates of the average number of days a child spends in formal childcare on any given day, using the Childcare and early years survey of parents: 2019. For further details please see the methodology section.

Attendance rates for vulnerable children

Attendance rates for vulnerable children are presented as a proportion of the estimated number of children aged 0-4 with an Education, Health and Care Plan (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. Therefore 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. This means this figure is not comparable with the proportion of children who usually attend childcare in term time.

  • Approximately 25,000 vulnerable children attended early years settings on  14 January, up slightly from 23,000 on 7 January. This represents around 32% of 0 to 4 year olds classified as ‘Children in Need’ or who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) [14].

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

[14] 0 to 4 year olds excluding those in Reception classes. This is an estimate based on the 2020 Children in Need census and January 2020 school census. 

Help and support

Methodology

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

National statistics

The United Kingdom Statistics Authority designated these statistics as National Statistics in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

Designation signifying their compliance with the authority's Code of Practice for Statistics which broadly means 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

Once designated as National Statistics it's a statutory requirement for statistics to follow and comply with the Code of Practice for Statistics to be observed.

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