Historically, between 4% and 5% of school is missed due to absence during the Autumn term. This year, an additional 7% of sessions were recorded as not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus (COVID-19). This represents an additional 33 million days, or 5 days (one week) per pupil.
This includes pupils self-isolating and shielding, including when a class or bubble has been required to stay at home. During these sessions, these children could not attend school and so they are treated separately, and not counted within the standard absence rates within this publication. Where a pupil was not attending in these circumstances, schools were expected to provide immediate access to remote education.
To derive these figures, an additional category was collected from schools as defined below:
Record sessions where a pupil does not attend because their travel to, or attendance at, school would be:
- contrary to guidance relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) from Public Health England (PHE) and/or the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)
- prohibited by any legislation (or instruments such as statutory directions) relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)
When a pupil has initially self-isolated pending a coronavirus test result, the school should have recorded the pupil as not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus. If the pupil subsequently tested positive the school should have recorded the pupil as being absent due to illness and they would be included as an absence.
This publication looks further at absence rates in the Autumn Term. Further data was collected on attendance during the Autumn Term and is published in the ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ statistics release.
Full guidance on recording attendance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) during the 2020 to 2021 academic year is available online at Addendum: recording attendance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) during the 2020 to 2021 academic year - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey, published by ONS, gives information about infection rates, includes those amongst the primary and secondary school age groups.