A fifth of pupils in the East Riding miss school due to Covid ahead of summer holidays

A fifth of school pupils in the East Riding missed school due to coronavirus ahead of the summer break, figures reveal.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 8:50 am
Department for Education data shows up to 19.8% of children were absent from school. Photo: PA Images

Department for Education data shows up to 19.8% of children were absent from school for reasons linked to Covid-19 on July 15 – the day the Government body carried out its last snapshot survey.

Around 18.1% of children were self-isolating due to possible contact with a Covid-19 case, while the rest had a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus, or were off as a result of Covid-related school closures.

The Government has been criticised for its rules around “bubbles” in schools, with teachers, parents and unions complaining the system caused widespread disruption to children’s education.

The latest snapshot shows up to 28.6% of secondary school pupils in the East Riding of Yorkshire were not in class for reasons related to Covid, while up to 14.3% of primary pupils were missing school.

The figures have been adjusted to exclude students in Years 11-13, who were not expected to attend.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the data showed it had been an “extremely challenging end” to an already challenging school year.

He said: “The Government must put a much greater focus on putting an end to educational disruption in the autumn term and provide more support to schools and colleges.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said while absence levels were mainly due to pupils isolating, there had also been a “sharp” rise in pupils testing positive for Covid-19.

A DfE spokesman said: “Where children needed to isolate last term, schools were required to offer immediate access to high-quality remote education.

“As of step 4, schools no longer need to operate a bubble system, and from August 16 pupils will not need to self-isolate should they come into contact with a positive case, in line with the position for wider society.”