Week 44 2021

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

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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 dashboardnational 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.

Headline facts and figures - 2021

In this release, local authority data is included for the first time this term. The reference date is Thursday 21 October 2021. This is a week earlier than usual to take into account that most schools were on half term on the week commencing 25 October.

On Thursday 14 October no local authorities were expected to be on half term, while on Thursday 21 October ten local authorities were expected to be on half term. Due to this, figures between these two dates are not directly comparable. However, the trends still remain when excluding local authorities that were on holiday on Thursday 21 October from term time data in the previous week. 

Open Rates

  • 99.9% all state-funded schools were open on 21 Oct 2021, similar to open rate on 14 Oct.

Pupil absence

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) related pupil absence in all state-funded schools was 3.2% on 21 Oct, up from 2.6% on 14 Oct.
  • Among pupils absent for COVID-19 reasons, the main reasons for absence on 21 Oct were: pupils with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (1.7%), and pupils with a suspected case of COVID-19 (1.1%).

Pupil on site attendance 

  • Attendance in all state-funded schools was 88.2% on 21 Oct, down from 90.0% on 14 Oct.  

Workforce absence

  • We estimate that 2.1% of teachers and school leaders in open state-funded schools were absent due to COVID-19 reasons on 21 Oct, up from 1.8% on 14 Oct.
  • We estimate that 1.8% of teaching assistants and other staff in open state-funded schools were absent due to COVID-19 reasons on 21 Oct, up from 1.6% on 14 Oct.

Regional absence

  • COVID-19 related absence in state funded schools for both pupils and the staff workforce, increased across all English regions between 14 Oct and 21 Oct.
  • The highest rate of COVID-19 related absence was 5.0% in the South West on 21 Oct, a relatively large increase from 2.8% on 14 Oct. London had the lowest rate of COVID 19 related absence of 1.6% on 21 Oct, up from 1.3% on 14 Oct.
  • The South West had the highest COVID-19 related workforce absences on 21 Oct, with 2.8% of teachers and schools leaders and 2.4% teaching assistants or other staff absent for COVID-19 related reasons. This compares with 2.0% of teachers and schools leaders and 1.7% teaching assistants or other staff absent for COVID-19 related reasons nationally on 14 Oct.

Early years settings

  • The early years local authority survey moved to a monthly basis from 16 September 2021 with no publication due this week.

The Department for Education has been collecting LA-level data on early years childcare provision since April 2020 on a weekly, and until summer 2021 on a fortnightly, basis. Data collection was paused over summer, resuming on 16 September 2021 for the start of the 2021/22 academic year. This data has been crucial to the Department during the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure it holds timely data on the use of childcare, and we are incredibly grateful to LAs and providers for taking the time to send it to us during this time. In line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics we recently sought views on making some changes to the early years data collection. Having reviewed the needs of a range of users, we have decided to continue collecting and publishing data on early years childcare provision but on a monthly basis, for the rest of the year. We will review and seek views on future plans towards the end of the autumn term.

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