One in eight children out of school after covid surge

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One in eight children out of school after covid surge

One out of every eight pupils were absent from schools in England last Thursday due to a rise Covid cases.

Official figures also show staffing problems are worsening, with a quarter of schools seeing teachers and leaders’ absence rates above 15%.

Across England as a whole, about 9% of teachers were absent.

This increase in absences follows governments loosening of Covid restrictions in schools by no longer requiring pupils to wear masks.

While they are no longer mandatory, pupils and staff will still be encouraged to wear face coverings.

Of the one million pupils (12.6%) absent, nearly half (415,000) were out of school for Covid-related reasons.

On 20 January, 47,000 teachers and school leaders were absent – 3,000 more than two weeks previously with half of those being for Covid-related reasons.

National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Paul Whiteman said: “Covid absence figures for pupils are the worst they have been this academic year.

“Schools are struggling to keep things running, with nearly 10% of their staff off, on average – but for some, this is much higher.

“Our members are repeatedly telling us that they are having to drop everything to find cover and that just keeping things going is a challenge.”

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Ellie joined Gi Media in July 2021.