Pupils sent home in half of England’s secondary schools

Pupils sent home in half of England's secondary schools

Pupils sent home in half of England’s secondary schools

Almost half of all secondary schools in England were forced to send at least one or more students home because of coronavirus cases last week.

The disruption caused in schools by coronavirus is rapidly increasing.

Attendance figures show that pupils in 46% of secondary schools and 16% of primary schools are now in isolation.

This amounts to around 400,000 affected children.

Data issued by the Department of Education shows that 21% of all schools, primary and secondary have sent home at least one pupil.

Up to 13% have sent home 30 or more pupils.

However, very few schools, around 0.3%, have closed completely.

The current advice being issued by Public Health England is to isolate social bubbles, rather than closing entire schools.

Despite this, Julie McCulloch of the ASCL head teachers’ union said the latest figures demonstrated the “high level of disruption.” 

She said schools “haven’t received enough support from the government,” referring to advice issued by the Department of Education as “patchy.”

The ongoing disruption has led to concerns regarding next summer’s exam performance.

Earlier this month the Department of Education confirmed that students would be given more time to prepare for exams taking place in 2021

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Fairness to pupils is my priority, and will continue to be at the forefront of every decision we take in the lead up to exams next summer.

“Exams are the fairest way of judging a student’s performance so they will go ahead, underpinned by contingency measures developed in partnership with the sector.

“Students have experienced considerable disruption and it’s right we give them, and their teachers, the certainty that exams will go ahead and more time to prepare.”

But, there are still concerns about how exams could be fair between pupils who have missed different amounts of time in school.

England’s Schools Minister Nick Gibb acknowledged the issue, adding:

“That is something that is something that we’re working with the exam boards and Ofqual to seek to address.”

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