Week 8 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 and spring terms statistics were published on 21 October 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

To reflect that, 73 (48%) local authorities advertised their schools as being on half term on Thursday 17 February, the reference date for this release is Thursday 10 February 2022.

Open Rates

  • Over 99.9% all state-funded schools were open on 10 Feb 2022, same on 3 Feb 2022.

Pupil absence

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) related pupil absence in all state-funded schools was 2.2% on 10 Feb, down from 3.9% on 3 Feb.
  • Among pupils absent for COVID-19 reasons, the main reasons for absence on 10 Feb were: pupils with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (1.7%), and pupils with a suspected case of COVID-19 (0.3%).

Pupil on site attendance 

  • Attendance in all state-funded schools was 90.3% on 10 Feb, up from 89.1% on 3 Feb.  

Workforce absence

  • We estimate that 7.5% of teachers and school leaders were absent from open schools on 10 Feb (with 2.8% absent for COVID-19 related reasons), down from 9.1% on 3 Feb.
  • We estimate that 7.3% of teaching assistants and other staff were absent from open schools on 10 Feb (with 2.5% absent for COVID-19 related reasons), down from 9.0% on 3 Feb.

Levels of workforce absence in education settings

Teachers and school leaders

  • 17% of all state-funded schools had more than 15% of their teachers and school leaders absent on 10 Feb, down from 23% on 3 Feb. 
  • 45% of all state-funded schools had up to 5% of their teachers and school leaders absent on 10 Feb, up from 36% on 3 Feb.

Teaching assistants and other staff

  • 12% of all state-funded schools had more than 15% of their teaching assistants and other staff absent on 10 Feb, down from 19% on 3 Feb.
  • 41% of all state-funded schools had up to 5% of their teaching assistants and other staff absent on 10 Feb, up from 32% on 3 Feb.

Early years settings

For the week commencing 14 February an estimated 96% of early years settings were fully open, with a further 3% partially open. On 9 February 8% of paid staff in open group- or school-based settings were absent from work due to COVID-19-related reasons, and 88% of children booked into a place attended a setting.

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Background

On 21 February, the Prime Minister announced his plan for 'living with Covid'. This release includes data that relates to a period prior to this.

Data coverage

This data release includes data from the education settings survey from 23 March 2020 to 10 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 12,300 (57%) state-funded schools that responded to the Education settings survey on 10 Feb:

  • Over 99.9% of state-funded schools were open on 10 Feb.
  • For the state-funded school types, primary, secondary, special, alternative provision, the educational setting open rate was at least 99.8% on 10 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 (81%) further education colleges and 100 (56%) special post-16 institutions responded to the Education settings survey. 

Of these, all further education colleges and of special post 16 institutions [1] were open on 9 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 2.2% (182,000) of all pupils on roll in state-funded schools did not attend school for COVID-19 related reasons on 10 Feb, down from 3.9% (320,000) on 3 Feb.

This includes:

  • 22,000 pupils with a suspected case of coronavirus, 0.3% of pupils on roll in open schools, down from 0.4% on 3 Feb when there were 34,000 suspected cases.
  • 136,000 pupils with a confirmed case of coronavirus, 1.7%  of pupils on roll in open schools, down from 3.1% on 3 Feb when there were 250,000 confirmed cases.
  • 13,000 pupils absent from open settings due to attendance restrictions being in place to manage an outbreak or exceptional circumstances related to COVID, 0.2% of pupils on roll in open schools, down from 0.3% on 3 Feb when there were 21,000 attendance restrictions cases.
  • 8,000 pupils absent from open settings due to isolation for other reasons, 0.1% of pupils on roll in open schools, same on 3 Feb when there were 11,000 cases in isolation for other reasons.
  • 2,000 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, same on 3 Feb when there were 3,000 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 90.3% on 10 Feb, up from 89.1% on 3 Feb.
  • 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 85% of all pupils with an EHCP on roll in state-funded schools were in attendance on 10 Feb, up from 83% on 3 Feb.
  • Approximately 83% of all pupils with a social worker on roll in all state-funded schools were in attendance on 10 Feb, up from 82% on 3 Feb. 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 88% of all pupils eligible for FSM on roll in state-funded schools were in attendance on 10 Feb, up from 87% on 3 Feb.

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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 93.2% on 10 Feb, up from 91.9% on 3 Feb.
  • Attendance in state-funded secondary schools was 87.3% on 10 Feb, up from 86.2% on 3 Feb.
  • Attendance in state-funded special schools was 82.3% on 10 Feb, up from 80.5% on 3 Feb. Attendance at special schools is typically lower than at mainstream settings.
  • Attendance in state-funded alternative provision was 57.0% on 10 Feb, down from 57.1% on 3 Feb.

Attendance of vulnerable children and pupils eligible for free school meals

  • In primary schools, approximately 91% of pupils with an education, health and care plan (EHCP), 91% of pupils with a social worker, and 92% of pupils eligible for free school meals were in attendance on 10 Feb. Attendance rates are higher than on 3 Feb when 89% for pupils with an EHCP, 90% of pupils with a social worker, and 91% of pupils eligible for free school meals were in attendance. 
  • In secondary schools, approximately 82% of pupils with an EHCP, 75% of pupils with a social worker, and 83% of pupils eligible for free school meals were in attendance on 10 Feb. Attendance rates are higher than on 3 Feb when 80% for pupils with an EHCP, 74% 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 403,000 students were attending colleges on site on 9 Feb, down from 413,000 2 Feb. 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

Teachers and school leaders 

We estimate that 7.5% (40,000) of teachers and school leaders were absent from open schools on 10 Feb, down from 9.1% (48,000) on 3 Feb.

We estimate 2.8% of teachers and school leaders were absent from open schools due to COVID-19 related reasons on 10 Feb, down from 4.4% on 3 Feb, this includes: 

  • 0.1% of teachers and school leaders absent from open schools with a suspected case of coronavirus on 
    10 Feb, down from 0.2% on 3 Feb.
  • 2.6% of teachers and school leaders absent from open schools with a confirmed case of coronavirus on 10 Feb, down from 4.1% on 3 Feb.
  • 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 within education setting on 10 Feb, down from 0.1% on 3 Feb.
  • 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 10 Feb, same on 3 Feb.

There were 4.7% of teachers and school leaders absent from open schools for 'other' reasons on 10 Feb, same on 3 Feb.

Teaching assistants and other staff

We estimate that 7.3% (52,000) of teaching assistants and other staff were absent from open schools on 10 Feb, down from 9.0% (64,000) on 3 Feb.

We estimate 2.5% of teaching assistants and other staff were absent from open schools due to COVID-19 related 
reasons on 10 Feb, down from 4.1% on 3 Feb. This includes: 

  • 0.1% of teaching assistants and other staff absent from open schools with a suspected case of 
    coronavirus on 10 Feb, down from 0.2% on 3 Feb.
  • 2.3% of teaching assistants and other staff absent from open schools with a confirmed case of 
    coronavirus on 10 Feb, down from 3.7% on 3 Feb.
  • 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 10 Feb, same on 3 Feb.
  • 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 10 Feb, same on 3 Feb.

There were 4.8% of teaching assistants and other staff absent from open schools for 'other' reasons on 10 Feb, down from 4.9% on 3 Feb.

Workforce absence by type of education setting

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

Teachers and school leaders 

  • 2.8% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded primary schools on 10 Feb, down from 5.0% on 3 Feb.
  • 2.7% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded secondary schools on 10 Feb, down from 3.8% on 3 Feb.
  • 3.7% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded special schools on 10 Feb, down from 5.2% on 3 Feb.
  • 3.4% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded alternative provision on 10 Feb, down from 4.4% on 3 Feb.

Teaching assistants and other staff

  • 2.6% of teaching assistants and other staff absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded primary schools on 10 Feb, down from 4.5% on 3 Feb.
  • 2.0% of teaching assistants and other staff absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded secondary schools on 10 Feb, down from 2.6% on 3 Feb.
  • 3.9% of teaching assistants and other staff absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded special schools on 10 Feb, down from 5.6% on 3 Feb.
  • 3.0% of teaching assistants and other staff absent due to COVID-19 reasons in state-funded alternative provision on 10 Feb, down from 3.8% on 3 Feb.

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

Teachers and school leaders 

  • 2.2% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in further education colleges on 9 Feb, down from 2.5% on 2 Feb.
  • 3.8% of teachers and school leaders absent due to COVID-19 reasons in special post-16 institutions on 9 Feb, down from 4.3% on 2 Feb.

Teaching assistants and other staff

  • 1.7% of teaching assistants and other staff were absent due to COVID-19 reasons in further education colleges on 9 Feb, down from 1.9% on 2 Feb.
  • 4.1% of teaching assistants and other staff absent due to COVID-19 reasons in special post-16 institutions on 9 Feb, down from 6.4% on 2 Feb.

Levels of workforce absence in education settings

Teachers and school leaders

17% (3,600) of all state-funded schools had more than 15% of their teachers and school leaders absent on 10 Feb. By state-funded school phase:

  • 18% (3,000) in state-funded primary schools
  • 7% (200) in state-funded secondary schools
  • 25% (300) in state-funded special schools 
  • 32% (100) in state-funded alternative provision 

45% (9,700) of all state-funded schools had up to 5% of teachers and school leaders absent on 10 Feb. By state-funded school phase:

  • 48% (8,100) in state-funded primary schools
  • 33% (1,100) in state-funded secondary schools
  • 30% (300) in state-funded special schools 
  • 36% (100) in state-funded alternative provision 

Teaching assistants and other staff

12% (2,600) of all state-funded schools had more than 15% of their teaching assistants and other staff absent on 10 Feb. By state-funded school phase:

  • 12% (2,100) in state-funded primary schools
  • 5% (200) in state-funded secondary schools
  • 23% (200) in state-funded special schools 
  • 21% (100) in state-funded alternative provision 

41% (9,000) of all state-funded schools had up to 5% of teaching assistants and other staff absent on 10 Feb. By state-funded school phase:

  • 42% (7,100) in state-funded primary schools
  • 44% (1,500) in state-funded secondary schools
  • 17% (200) in state-funded special schools 
  • 43% (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 to collect weekly data on COVID-related workforce absences, child attendance and the impact of any staff absences on the operating status of early years providers during January up until February half term. We have no further plans to continue this survey so this is the final time these statistics will be collected and published. 

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 14 February, 96% of early years settings who responded to the survey were fully open. This is consistent with the previous week. 
  • 3% reported to be partially open, while 1% were temporarily or permanently closed. 

Workforce absence in open settings

  • On 9 February, 8% of paid staff in open group- or school-based settings were absent from work for COVID-related reasons, down from 9% on 2 February. COVID-related reasons included any confirmed or suspected case due to self-isolating or caring for dependents for COVID-related reasons.

Child attendance

  • On 9 February, 88% of children who were booked to attend open early years provision attended the setting, slightly up from 86% on 2 February. 

Impact of workforce absences on provision

  • On 9 February, 94% 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 93% the previous week.
  • Of the fully or partially open providers responding to the survey, 2% said their provision remained open but with restricted attendance because of workforce absences, slightly down from 3% on 2 February. 

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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.

Contact us

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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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Telephone: Raffaele Sasso
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