Week 46 2021

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


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

This report compares attendance on a day at the start of the second half term in autumn, Thursday 11 November 2021, with the end of the first half term, Thursday 21 October 2021. This covers a three week period.

Open Rates

  • 99.9% all state-funded schools were open on 11 Nov 2021, same on 21 Oct.

Pupil absence

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) related pupil absence in all state-funded schools was 1.6% on 11 Nov, down from 3.2% on 21 Oct.
  • Among pupils absent for COVID-19 reasons, the main reasons for absence on 11 Nov were: pupils with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (0.8%), and pupils with a suspected case of COVID-19 (0.6%).

Pupil on site attendance 

  • Attendance in all state-funded schools was 91.5% on 11 Nov, up from 88.2% on 21 Oct.  

Workforce absence

  • We estimate that 1.4% of teachers and school leaders in open state-funded schools were absent due to COVID-19 reasons on 11 Nov, down from 2.1% on 21 Oct.
  • We estimate that 1.4% of teaching assistants and other staff in open state-funded schools were absent due to COVID-19 reasons on 11 Nov, down from 1.8% on 21 Oct.

Early years settings

  • The early years local authority survey resumed on 16 September for the start of the 2021/22 academic year. We estimate 783,000 children were attending early years childcare settings on Thursday 11 November 2021 – about 61% of the number of children who usually attend childcare in term time [1]. 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 [2]. We estimate that the 783,000 children currently attending early years settings is approximately 86% of the usual daily level.


[1] 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. 

[2] 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.


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