Week 6 2022

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

Published

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 - 2022

Open Rates

  • Over 99.9% all state-funded schools were open on 3 Feb 2022, up from 99.9% on 20 Jan 2022.

Pupil absence

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) related pupil absence in all state-funded schools was 3.9% on 3 Feb, down from 5.1% on 20 Jan.
  • Among pupils absent for COVID-19 reasons, the main reasons for absence on 3 Feb were: pupils with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (3.1%), and pupils with a suspected case of COVID-19 (0.4%).

Pupil on site attendance 

  • Attendance in all state-funded schools was 89.1% on 3 Feb, up from 87.4% on 20 Jan.  

Workforce absence

  • We estimate that 9.1% of teachers and school leaders were absent from open schools on 3 Feb (with 4.4% absent for COVID-19 related reasons), up from 9.0% on 20 Jan.
  • We estimate that 9.0% of teaching assistants and other staff were absent from open schools on 3 Feb (with 4.1% absent for COVID-19 related reasons), down from 9.4% on 20 Jan.

Levels of workforce absence in education settings

Teachers and school leaders

  • 23% of all state-funded schools had more than 15% of their teachers and school leaders absent on 3 Feb, down from 24% on 20 Jan. 
  • 36% of all state-funded schools had up to 5% of their teachers and school leaders absent on 3 Feb, same on 20 Jan.

Teaching assistants and other staff

  • 19% of all state-funded schools had more than 15% of their teaching assistants and other staff absent on 3 Feb, down from 21% on 20 Jan.
  • 32% of all state-funded schools had up to 5% of their teaching assistants and other staff absent on 3 Feb, down from 33% on 20 Jan.

Early years settings

For the week commencing 31 January an estimated 95% of early years settings were fully open, with a further 4% partially open. On 26 January 12% of paid staff in open group- or school-based settings were absent from work due to COVID-19-related reasons, and 84% of children booked into a place attended a setting.

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


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All supporting files

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

List of all supporting files

Background

From Tuesday 14 December 2021, all children and young people aged between 5 and 18 years and 6 months identified as a contact by Test and Trace of someone with Covid-19 should take a lateral flow test every day for 7 days to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Daily rapid testing applies to all contacts who are: 

  • fully vaccinated adults – people who have had 2 doses of the vaccine
  • all children and young people aged 5 to 18 years and 6 months, regardless of their vaccination status 
  • people who can prove they are unable to be vaccinated for clinical reasons 
  • people taking part, or have taken part, in an approved clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine 
  • Children under 5 years are exempt from self-isolation and do not need to take part in daily rapid lateral flow testing. 

Further information is available in NHS Test and Trace: what to do if you are contacted and in the stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection 

Staff and secondary school pupils should continue to test twice weekly at home, with lateral flow device (LFD) test kits, 3 to 4 days apart. Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged. Reporting all tests results (positive, negative and void) to both the school and NHS (through Report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)) is also strongly encouraged.

There is no need for primary age pupils (those in year 6 and below) to regularly test unless contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact and therefore follow Daily Rapid testing (seven lateral flow tests over seven days).

Staff and pupils with a positive Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test result  should self-isolate in line with the stay at home guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

Pupils not receiving face-to-face education because they are complying with government guidance or legislation around coronavirus (COVID-19) should receive remote education.

Data coverage

This data release includes data from the education settings survey from 23 March 2020 to 3 February 2022 (excluding school holidays) and early years settings from 16 April 2020 to 9 December 2021. A new survey of early years providers was launched on 10 January 2022 and will continue until February, at which point it will be reviewed.

Open status in education settings

Based on the 12,900 (60%) state-funded schools that responded to the Education settings survey on 3 Feb:

  • Over 99.9% of state-funded schools were open on 3 Feb.
  • For the state-funded school types, primary, secondary, special, alternative provision, the educational setting open rate was over 99.9% on 3 Feb. 

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 200 (77%) further education colleges and 100 (53%) special post-16 institutions responded to the Education settings survey. 

Of these, all further education colleges and 97.1% of special post 16 institutions [1] were open on 2 Feb.

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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

Absence in state-funded schools

We estimate 3.9% (320,000) of all pupils on roll in state-funded schools did not attend school for COVID-19 related reasons on 3 Feb, down from 5.1% (415,000) on 20 Jan.

This includes:

  • 34,000 pupils with a suspected case of coronavirus, 0.4% of pupils on roll in open schools, down from 0.6% on 20 Jan when there were 52,000 suspected cases.
  • 250,000 pupils with a confirmed case of coronavirus, 3.1% of pupils on roll in open schools, down from 3.9% on 20 Jan when there were 322,000 confirmed cases.
  • 21,000 pupils absent from open settings due to attendance restrictions being in place to manage an outbreak or exceptional circumstances related to COVID, 0.3% of pupils on roll in open schools, up from 0.2% on 20 Jan when there were 19,000 attendance restrictions cases.
  • 11,000 pupils absent from open settings due to isolation for other reasons, 0.1% of pupils on roll in open schools, down from 0.2% on 20 Jan when there were 17,000 cases in isolation for other reasons.
  • 3,000 pupils were required to remain at home or isolate in line with government guidance, less than 0.1% of pupils on roll in open schools, down from 0.1% on 20 Jan when there were 5,000 cases required to remain at home or isolate in line with government guidance.

Pupil attendance in state-funded schools

  • On site attendance in state-funded schools was 89.1% on 3 Feb, up from 87.4% on 20 Jan.
  • 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.

 

Vulnerable children in state-funded schools

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 83% of all pupils with an EHCP on roll in state-funded schools were in attendance on 3 Feb, up from 82% on 20 Jan.
  • Approximately 82% of all pupils with a social worker on roll in all state-funded schools were in attendance on 3 Feb, up from 81% on 20 Jan. 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 1.44 million (17.3% of all pupils) in January 2020 to 1.74 million (20.8% of all pupils) in January 2021.

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

  • Approximately 87% of all pupils eligible for FSM on roll in state-funded schools were in attendance on 3 Feb, up from 85% on 20 Jan.

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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

Rates of pupil absence due to confirmed cases and isolation may be impacted by levels of testing.

  • Attendance in state-funded primary schools was 91.9% on 3 Feb, up from 89.1% on 20 Jan.
  • Attendance in state-funded secondary schools was 86.2% on 3 Feb, up from 85.9% on 20 Jan.
  • Attendance in state-funded special schools was 80.5% on 3 Feb, up from 78.4% on 20 Jan. Attendance at special schools is typically lower than at mainstream settings.
  • Attendance in state-funded alternative provision was 57.1% on 3 Feb, up from 50.8% on 20 Jan.

Attendance of vulnerable children and pupils eligible for free school meals

  • In primary schools, approximately 89% of pupils with an education, health and care plan (EHCP), 90% of pupils with a social worker, and 91% of pupils eligible for free school meals were in attendance on 3 Feb. Attendance rates are higher than on 20 Jan when 88% for pupils with an EHCP, 88% of pupils with a social worker, and 88% of pupils eligible for free school meals were in attendance. 
  • In secondary schools, approximately 80% of pupils with an EHCP, 74% of pupils with a social worker, and 82% of pupils eligible for free school meals were in attendance on 3 Feb. Attendance rates are lower than on 20 Jan when 81% for pupils with an EHCP, 75% of pupils with a social worker and 82% of pupils eligible for free school meals were in attendance.

Attendance in further education colleges 

Attendance figures for colleges include adult learners and part-time learners, as well as 16-19 year olds on full study programmes. Typically, attendance in further education colleges varies each day, term and academic year due to part-time learners and levels of enrolments.

  • We estimate 413,000 students were attending colleges on site on 2 Feb, up from 410,000 19 Jan. Note that this uses 'expected to attend' figures from the previous academic years for further education colleges that did not respond. For further detail see methodology.
  • On site attendance in colleges in the autumn term of 2020 typically ranged between 250,000 and 400,000 students each day. Due to quality issues with some data collected in the autumn term, attendance estimates in colleges are not available for each day in the autumn term.

Workforce absence in state-funded schools

For workforce, COVID-19 related absence includes staff with a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus and those required to isolate by NHS Test and Trace due to contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, where they are not exempt from self-isolation.

Rates of confirmed cases and isolation among workforce may be impacted by levels of testing. Staff should continue to test twice weekly at home, with lateral flow device (LFD) test kits, 3 to 4 days apart, Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged.

Teachers and school leaders 

We estimate that 9.1% (48,000) of teachers and school leaders were absent from open schools on 3 Feb, up from 9.0% (47,000) on 20 Jan.

We estimate 4.4% of teachers and school leaders were absent from open schools due to COVID-19 related reasons on 3 Feb, down from 4.5% on 20 Jan, this includes: 

  • 0.2% of teachers and school leaders absent from open schools with a suspected case of coronavirus on 
    3 Feb, same on 20 Jan.
  • 4.1% of teachers and school leaders absent from open schools with a confirmed case of coronavirus on 3 Feb, same on 20 Jan.
  • 0.1% of teachers and school leaders required to remain at home or isolate by NHS Test and Trace or in line with government guidance due to close contact with a case of COVID-19 within education setting on 3 Feb, same on 20 Jan.
  • less than 0.1% of teachers and school leaders required to remain at home or isolate by NHS Test and Trace or in line with government guidance due to close contact with a case of COVID-19 outside education settings on 3 Feb, down from 0.1% on 20 Jan.

There were 4.7% of teachers and school leaders absent from open schools for 'other' reasons on 3 Feb, up from 4.5% on 20 Jan.

Teaching assistants and other staff

We estimate that 9.0% (64,000) of teaching assistants and other staff were absent from open schools on 3 Feb, down from 9.4% (67,000) on 20 Jan.

We estimate 4.1% of teaching assistants and other staff were absent from open schools due to COVID-19 related 
reasons on 3 Feb, down from 4.7% on 20 Jan. This includes: 

  • 0.2% of teaching assistants and other staff absent from open schools with a suspected case of 
    coronavirus on 3 Feb, same on 20 Jan.
  • 3.7% of teaching assistants and other staff absent from open schools with a confirmed case of 
    coronavirus on 3 Feb, down from 4.1% on 20 Jan.
  • 0.1% teaching assistants and other staff required to remain at home or isolate by NHS Test and Trace or in line with government guidance due to close contact with a case of COVID-19 within education setting on 3 Feb, down from 0.3% on 20 Jan.
  • 0.1% of teaching assistants and other staff required to remain at home or isolate by NHS Test and Trace or in line with government guidance due to close contact with a case of COVID-19 outside education settings on 3 Feb, same on 20 Jan.

There were 4.9% of teaching assistants and other staff absent from open schools for 'other' reasons on 3 Feb, up from 4.7% on 20 Jan.

Workforce absence by type of education setting

Workforce absence due to COVID-19 reasons by state-funded school type

Teachers and school leaders 

  • 5.0% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded primary schools on 3 Feb, down from 5.8% on 20 Jan.
  • 3.8% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded secondary schools on 3 Feb, up from 2.9% on 20 Jan.
  • 5.2% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded special schools on 3 Feb, down from 6.7% on 20 Jan.
  • 4.4% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded alternative provision on 3 Feb, up from 3.3% on 20 Jan.

Teaching assistants and other staff

  • 4.5% of teaching assistants and other staff absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded primary schools on 3 Feb, down from 5.6% on 20 Jan.
  • 2.6% of teaching assistants and other staff absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded secondary schools on 3 Feb, up from 2.1% on 20 Jan.
  • 5.6% of teaching assistants and other staff absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded special schools on 3 Feb, down from 6.8% on 20 Jan.
  • 3.8% of teaching assistants and other staff absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded alternative provision on 3 Feb, down from 4.7% on 20 Jan.

Workforce absence due to COVID-19 reasons in further education and special post-16 settings

Teachers and school leaders 

  • 2.5% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in further education colleges on 2 Feb, down from 2.8% on 19 Jan.
  • 4.3% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in special post-16 institutions on 2 Feb, up from 3.6% on 19 Jan.

Teaching assistants and other staff

  • 1.9% of teaching assistants and other staff were absent due to COVID-19 reasons in further education colleges on 2 Feb, down from 2.3% on 19 Jan.
  • 6.4% of teaching assistants and other staff absent due to COVID-19 reasons in special post-16 institutions on 2 Feb, up from 6.2% on 19 Jan.

Levels of absence in education settings

Teachers and school leaders

23% (4,900) of all state-funded schools had more than 15% of their teachers and school leaders absent on 3 Feb. By state-funded school phase:

  • 25% (4,100) in state-funded primary schools
  • 11% (400) in state-funded secondary schools
  • 30% (300) in state-funded special schools 
  • 34% (100) in state-funded alternative provision 

36% (7,800) of all state-funded schools had up to 5% of teachers and school leaders absent on 3 Feb. By state-funded school phase:

  • 39% (6,600) in state-funded primary schools
  • 24% (800) in state-funded secondary schools
  • 24% (300) in state-funded special schools 
  • 29% (100) in state-funded alternative provision 

Teaching assistants and other staff

19% (4,100) of all state-funded schools had more than 15% of their teaching assistants and other staff absent on 3 Feb. By state-funded school phase:

  • 20% (3,400) in state-funded primary schools
  • 6% (200) in state-funded secondary schools
  • 34% (400) in state-funded special schools 
  • 25% (100) in state-funded alternative provision 

32% (7,000) of all state-funded schools had up to 5% of teaching assistants and other staff absent on 3 Feb. By state-funded school phase:

  • 32% (5,400) in state-funded primary schools
  • 38% (1,300) in state-funded secondary schools
  • 13% (100) in state-funded special schools 
  • 37% (100) in state-funded alternative provision 

Early years settings

These are the main findings from the weekly pulse survey of early years providers on COVID absences. The survey launched on 10 January 2022 with the aim of collecting weekly data on workforce absence due to COVID, child attendance over the latest wave of the pandemic and the impact of any staff absences on the operating status of early years providers during January up until February half term, at which point the survey will be reviewed. 

The survey was designed quickly in response to developing world events and collected data to provide statistics on:

  • open rates of early years settings 
  • the workforce absence rate (COVID-related) in open settings 
  • the child attendance rate in open settings
  • the impact of staff absence on early years provision in open settings

Main findings:

For further detail on these measures and definitions please refer to the methodology.

Open rates

  • For the week commencing 31 January , 95% of early years settings who responded to the survey were fully open, slightly up from 93% last week.
  • 4% reported to be partially open, while 1% were temporarily or permanently closed. 

Workforce absence in open settings

  • On 26 January, 12% of paid staff in open group- or school-based settings were absent from work for COVID-related reasons, down from 14% on 19 January. COVID-related reasons included any confirmed or suspected case due to self-isolating or caring for dependents for COVID-related reasons.

Child attendance

  • On 26 January, 84% of children who were booked to attend open early years provision attended the setting, slightly up from 83% on 19 January. 

Impact of workforce absences on provision

  • On 26 January, 90% of open group-based and school-based providers reported that there were no days when they were unable to offer their regular or usual provision because of staff absences, slightly up from 88% the previous week.
  • Of the fully or partially open providers responding to the survey, 4% said their provision remained open but with restricted attendance because of workforce absences. This is consistent with findings from last week.  

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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.

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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

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