All supporting files from this release are listed for individual download below:
Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
A summary of attendance in education settings for the 2021/22 academic year, excluding out of term dates as data is not collected. The data covers England only.
Primary data sources on infection, incidence, and COVID-19 cases overall are not shown in this publication but are available on the coronavirus in the UK dashboard, national COVID-19 surveillance reports and coronavirus infection survey pilot statistics.
This publication provides national and local authority level summary estimates from the Department for Education's daily education settings survey and local authority early years survey. Data files are available in the ‘Explore data and files’ section on this page for further details and analysis.
Pupil absence in schools in England: autumn term statistics were published on 27 May 2021 presenting absence data collected via the school census covering the pandemic. That release is derived from pupil level data from which further analysis, such as the amount of time missed, can be derived.
These statistics have been produced quickly in response to developing world events. In May 2020, the Office for Statistics Regulation, on behalf of the UK Statistics Authority, reviewed them against several key aspects of the Code of Practice for Statistics and regarded them as consistent with the Code’s pillars of Trustworthiness, Quality and Value.
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
- 99.9% of state-funded schools were open on 16 September.
For pupils, COVID-19 related absence includes:
- Suspected case of coronavirus
- Confirmed case of coronavirus
- Pupils absent due to attendance restrictions put in place to manage an outbreak
- Pupils absent due to isolation for other reasons
- Pupils unable to attend school because their school is closed due to COVID-19
- Pupils instructed to isolate by NHS Test and Trace, who are older than 18 years and 6 months and not fully vaccinated
Pupils isolating should receive remote education. Note that in the COVID attendance statistics publication this counts as absence.
Rates of pupil absence due to confirmed cases of COVID-19 may be impacted by levels of testing. This should be taken into consideration when comparing absences between different types of schools.
- COVID-related pupil absence in all state-funded schools was 1.5% on 16 September.
- In state-funded primary schools, COVID-related absence was 1.4% on 16 September.
- In state-funded secondary schools, COVID-related absence was 1.6% on 16 September.
- A breakdown of COVID-19 related pupil absence in open schools on 16 September is given in table 1. Among pupils absent for COVID-19 reasons, the main reason for absence is pupils with a confirmed case of COVID. On 16 September, 0.7% of pupils were absent for this reason.
- Less than 0.1% of pupils in state-funded schools were absent on 16 September because their school was closed due to COVID-19 related reasons.
Table 1: Proportion of pupils absent from open schools due to COVID-19 reasons on 16 September
|Pupils absent from open settings with a suspected case of COVID-19 (%)
|Pupils absent from open settings with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (%)
|Pupils absent from open settings due to attendance restrictions being in place to manage an outbreak (%)
|Pupils absent from open settings due to isolation for other reasons (%)
|Pupils unable to attend school because their school is closed due to COVID-19 (%)
|All state-funded schools
- Attendance in all state-funded schools 91.9% on 16 Sept.
- Attendance in state-funded primary schools was 93.5% on 16 Sept.
- Pupil attendance in secondary schools was 90.2% on 16 Sept.
This data is as reported directly by schools via the Department for Education’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 dashboard, national COVID-19 surveillance reports and coronavirus infection survey pilot statistics.
For workforce, COVID-19 related absence includes:
- Suspected case of coronavirus
- Confirmed case of coronavirus
- Instructed to isolate by NHS Test and Trace, where they are not exempt from self-isolation under the changes of 16th August 2021.
Staff are encouraged to take twice weekly home tests whenever they are on site until the end of September, when this will be reviewed.
- We estimate that 1.0% of teachers and school leaders in open state-funded schools were absent due to COVID-19 reasons on 16 Sept.
- We estimate that 1.0% of teaching assistants and other staff in open state-funded schools were absent due to COVID-19 reasons on 16 Sept.
- We estimate that 3.4% of teachers and school leaders and 3.8% of teaching assistants and other staff in open state-funded schools were absent for other reasons on 16 Sept.
Early years settings
- The early years local authority survey resumed on 16 September for the start of the 2021/22 academic year. We estimate 697,000 children were attending early years childcare settings on Thursday 16 September 2021 – about 54% of the number of children who usually attend childcare in term time . 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 Autumn term we expect attendance to be 912,000 . We estimate that the 697,000 children currently attending early years settings is approximately 76% of the usual daily level.
 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 used in this release
Help and support
Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these 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.
Our statistical practice is regulated by the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR).
OSR sets the standards of trustworthiness, quality and value in the Code of Practice for Statistics that all producers of official statistics should adhere to.
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 StatisticsEmail: Datarequests.COVID@education.gov.uk
Contact name: Raffaele Sasso
If you have a media enquiry:
Telephone: 020 7783 8300
If you have a general enquiry about the Department for Education (DfE) or education:
Telephone: 037 0000 2288
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