East Riding of Yorkshire schools ‘have among highest levels of Covid-related absence’, according to Department for Education figures

East Riding of Yorkshire pupils missed among the most face-to-face teaching in the autumn term after having to self-isolate or shield due to Covid-19, figures reveal.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 11:10 am
Pupils across the East Riding of Yorkshire missed the equivalent of 247,618 days of in-person education between September and December. Photo: PA Images

Schools across England reopened to all year groups from September, with students sent home in bubbles to self-isolate when Covid was detected.

Pupils across the East Riding missed the equivalent of 247,618 days of in-person education between September and December for this reason, Department for Education figures show.

That was an absence rate of 9.6% – among the highest in England – and equivalent to roughly six days per pupil. The figures include state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in the area.

Schools recorded general absence – including when authorised and unauthorised – separately, although this could include a child being ill due to having Covid-19.

The absence rate in the East Riding for the autumn term was around 4.2%, which was slightly lower than 5.1% the previous year. Across England, the overall absence rate for the autumn term was 4.7% – broadly in line with 4.9% a year earlier.

But a further 7% of in-person teaching was missed because of self-isolation or shielding due to Covid-19 – amounting to 33 million days, or five days per pupil.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the figures show the autumn term was “an extremely turbulent period” for pupils.

“This difficult situation was compounded by significant problems early in the term, obtaining Covid tests for pupils and staff and in obtaining public health support in handling positive cases,” he said.

A Department for Education spokesman said schools went to great lengths over the autumn term to become Covid-secure. He added: “Where students did have to self-isolate, schools provided high-quality remote education, supported by an unparalleled government rollout of laptops and tablets for eligible children.

“It is positive to see underlying absence slightly decreased compared with previous years, reflecting schools’ efforts to keep their students engaged throughout an incredibly challenging year.”