Week 28 2022

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

Published

Introduction

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 2021/22 statistics were published on 26 May 2022 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 - 2022

From 21 April 2022, attendance figures for state-funded secondary schools, state-funded special schools and state-funded alternative provision have been adjusted to exclude year 11-13 pupils who are not in attendance because they are off-site for study leave, visits to education providers or other arranged activities out of school.

Attendance numbers are published for vulnerable children and pupils eligible for FSM but attendance as a proportion of total is omitted, except for state-funded primary schools who are unaffected by the adjustment. Data for state-funded primary schools will be published as before.

There is no fixed ‘end of term’ date for FE colleges and the academic year varies from institution to institution. Most FE colleges cease delivery of the study programme between 24 June to 8 July 2022. As such, we have removed attendance information for FE colleges due to low levels of data. We have also taken this approach for independent schools for similar reasons.

Open Rates

  • Over 99.9% all state-funded schools were open on 7 Jul 2022, up from 99.9% on 23 Jun.

Pupil on site attendance 

  • Attendance in all state-funded schools was adjusted to exclude year 11-13 pupils who are not in attendance because they are off-site for approved purposes was 86.9% on 7 Jul, down from 89.4% on 23 Jun.

Workforce absence

  • We estimate that 8.0% of teachers and school leaders were absent for any reason from open schools on 7 Jul, up from 6.5% on 23 Jun.
  • We estimate that 6.8% of teaching assistants and other staff were absent for any reason from open schools on 7 Jul, up from 5.5% on 23 Jun.

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

COVID-19 presents a low risk of serious illness to most children and most fully vaccinated adults. Since 1 April, testing is no longer expected in nearly all education, childcare, and children’s social care settings. 

Since 1 April, adults with symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19, and a high temperature or who feel unwell, are advised to try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people, until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature - if they had one. 

Children and young people who are under 18 years old with mild symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, or slight cough, who are otherwise well, should continue to attend their setting. If they are unwell and have a high temperature then they should stay at home and avoid contact with other people, where they can. They can go back to their setting when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend. 

Data coverage

From 7 March, the education setting survey has changed from daily to weekly. Data will be collected every Thursday and published on a fortnightly basis.

This data release includes data from the education settings survey from 23 March 2020 to 4 March 2022 and weekly on Thursdays from 7 March 2022 to 7 July 2022 (excluding school holidays).

Open status in education settings

Based on the 5,200 (24%) state-funded schools that responded to the Education settings survey on 7 Jul:

  • Over 99.9% of state-funded schools were open on 7 Jul.
  • For the state-funded school types, primary, secondary and special, the educational setting open rate was over 99.9%, and alternative provision 98.8% on 7 Jul. 

Further education colleges and special post-16 institutions are asked to provide data for the previous day; therefore, the data is lagged by one day and our reporting focuses on Wednesdays rather than Thursdays.

Around less than 100 (30%) special post-16 institutions responded to the Education settings survey. 

Of these, all special post 16 institutions [1] were open on 6 Jul.

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[1] There are only a small number of students at special post 16 settings therefore the data is expected to be variable and sensitive to changes.

Attendance in state-funded schools

From 7 April, data collection on COVID absence reasons for pupils has been paused.

Pupil attendance in state-funded schools

  • On site attendance in all state-funded schools was adjusted to exclude year 11-13 pupils who are not in attendance because they are off-site for approved purposes was 86.9% on 7 Jul, down from 89.4% on 23 Jun.
  • The overall absence rate in state-funded primary, secondary, and special schools in England in the 2018/19 academic year was 4.7%. However, there are differences in the way this figure (4.7%) is calculated, and attendance estimates are calculated which affect comparability, particularly during the summer term [2].

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[2] 2018/19 overall absence rates include pupils aged 5-15 in state-funded primary, secondary and special schools. Our attendance estimates include 4-year olds in reception and pupils over the age of 15 in state-funded schools. Both of these groups of pupils have higher than average absence rates. Pupils on roll in alternative provision, who have a higher than average absence rate, are included in our attendance estimates, but excluded from the 2018/19 overall absence rates.

Attendance rates are not comparable with previous years as there are no COVID restrictions in place this summer term. In summer term 2020, schools were closed to many pupils as part of the national lockdown. In summer term 2021, different national rules were in place including the isolation of close contacts.

Vulnerable children in state-funded schools

Attendance numbers are published for vulnerable children and pupils eligible for FSM but attendance as a proportion of total is omitted, except for state-funded primary schools who are unaffected by the adjustment.

Attendance of pupils with an education, health and care plan (EHCP), and pupils with a social worker is typically lower than for other pupils [3].

  • Approximately 89% of all pupils with an EHCP on roll in state-funded primary schools were in attendance on 7 Jul, down from 91% on 23 Jun.
  • Approximately 89% of all pupils with a social worker on roll in all state-funded primary schools were in attendance on 7 Jul, down from 91% on 23 Jun. 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 [4]. Therefore, these estimates only account for pupils with a social worker that are identified by schools.

Pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) in state-funded schools

Recently published data shows that the number of pupils eligible for FSM has increased from 1.74 million (20.8% of all pupils) in January 2021 to 1.90 million (22.5% of all pupils) in January 2022.

Attendance of pupils eligible for FSM is typically lower than for other pupils [5].

  • Approximately 90% of all pupils eligible for FSM on roll in state-funded primary schools were in attendance on 7 Jul, down from 92% 23 Jun.

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[3] 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.

[4] 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.

[5] Data from the 2018/19 academic year calculates the typical absence rate of FSM pupils to be 7.5% when compared to 4.7% for all pupils. This data is published here.

Attendance by type of education setting

Pupil on site attendance

  • Attendance in state-funded primary schools was 90.9% on 7 Jul, down from 91.4% on 23 Jun.
  • Attendance adjusted to exclude year 11-13 pupils who are not in attendance because they are off-site for approved purposes in state-funded secondary schools was 81.2% on 7 Jul, down from 86.9% on 23 Jun.
  • Attendance adjusted to exclude year 11-13 pupils who are not in attendance because they are off-site for approved purposes in state-funded special schools was 84.6% on 7 Jul, down from 85.5% on 23 Jun. Attendance at special schools is typically lower than at mainstream settings.
  • Attendance adjusted to exclude year 11-13 pupils who are not in attendance because they are off-site for approved purposes in state-funded alternative provision was 52.2% on 7 Jul, down from 52.9% on 23 Jun.

Attendance of vulnerable children and pupils eligible for free school meals

  • In state-funded primary schools, approximately 89% of pupils with an education, health and care plan (EHCP), 89% of pupils with a social worker, and 90% of pupils eligible for free school meals were in attendance on 7 Jul. Attendance rates are lower than on 23 Jun when 91% for pupils with an EHCP, 91% of pupils with a social worker, and 92% of pupils eligible for free school meals were in attendance. 
  • Equivalent figures for state-funded secondary schools are affected by some schools offering different provision for year 11-13 students and are therefore not summarised here.

Workforce absence in state-funded schools

From 7 March, collection on absence reasons for workforce staff has been paused.

Teachers and school leaders 

We estimate that 8.0% (42,000) of teachers and school leaders were absent for any reason from open schools on 7 Jul, up from 6.5% (33,000) on 23 Jun.

Teaching assistants and other staff

We estimate that 6.8% (49,000) of teaching assistants and other staff were absent for any reason from open schools on 7 Jul, up from 5.5% (39,000) on 23 Jun.

Workforce absence by type of education setting

Workforce absence by state-funded school type

Teachers and school leaders 

  • 6.8% of teachers and school leaders absent for any reason in state-funded primary schools on 7 Jul, up from 6.1% on 23 Jun.
  • 9.1% of teachers and school leaders absent for any reason in state-funded secondary schools on 7 Jul, up from 6.7% 23 Jun.
  • 8.9% of teachers and school leaders absent for any reason in state-funded special schools on 7 Jul, up from 8.0% on 23 Jun.
  • 8.5% of teachers and school leaders absent for any reason in state-funded alternative provision on 7 Jul, up from 7.2% on 23 Jun.

Teaching assistants and other staff

  • 6.5% of teaching assistants and other staff absent for any reason in state-funded primary schools on 7 Jul, up from 5.5% on 23 Jun.
  • 6.1% of teaching assistants and other staff absent for any reason in state-funded secondary schools on 7 Jul, up from 4.6% on 23 Jun.
  • 10.5% of teaching assistants and other staff absent for any reason in state-funded special schools on 7 Jul, up from 8.3% on 23 Jun.
  • 8.2% of teaching assistants and other staff absent for any reason in state-funded alternative provision on 7 Jul, up from 7.9% on 23 Jun.

Workforce absence in special post-16 settings

Teachers and school leaders 

  • 9.4% of teachers and school leaders absent for any reason in special post-16 institutions on 6 Jul, up from 9.2% on 22 Jun.

Teaching assistants and other staff

  • 10.7% of teaching assistants and other staff absent in special post-16 institutions on 6 Jul, up from 7.5% on 22 Jun.

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

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