The pandemic has had two major impacts on the data presented in this publication, described below. School attendance was also significantly disrupted in the 2020/21 academic year. As such all figures should be treated with caution when comparing to other years. Except for the two periods of lockdown set out below, Schools and local authorities were able to use their usual measures to improve attendance where appropriate.
Disapplication of offences in 2020/21
Due to the pandemic, the Secretary of State for Education issued legal notices, under the Coronavirus Act 2020, disapplying section 444(1) and (1A) of the Education Act 1996. These notices covered the period 7 January 2021 to 6 March 2021 which coincided with the period of national restrictions.
These notices disapplied offences relating to the failure of parents to secure regular attendance at the school of a registered pupil, and guaranteed that parents would not be prosecuted or receive a criminal conviction for not sending their children to school during this period. This was in line with the department’s commitment that no parent would be penalised for following public health advice.
No data is available for 2019/20
Due to the additional burdens faced by local authorities during the pandemic, a decision was also made not to run the data collection exercise for the 2019/20 academic year. This data has not been retrospectively collected and is therefore not available. Care should therefore be taken when looking across time periods that would otherwise include 2019/20.
During this period, disapplication notices were issued covering the period 1 May 2020 to 23 August 2020 which coincided with the first period of national lockdown.