Notts pupils miss millions of school days due to Covid
Pupils in Nottinghamshire missed millions of days of school in spring due to coronavirus, figures reveal.
The Association of School and College Leaders said the pandemic has caused massive disruption in England and warned schools across the country are ‘not out of the woods yet’.
Department for Education figures show pupils across Nottinghamshire missed the equivalent of 3.2 million days of in-person education between January and the end of March for coronavirus-related reasons – 55.4 per cent of all possible school days.
In the autumn term, 382,046 days were missed for this reason, meaning youngsters were absent for 3.6m school days over the two terms – equating to roughly 34 per pupil.
Children across England were sent home to self-isolate when coronavirus cases were detected in the autumn.
But for the majority of the spring term, students – except children of key workers and vulnerable pupils – were told to learn remotely amid the national lockdown.
About 252m school days were missed nationally because of Covid-19 over both terms – 29.4 per cent.
Geoff Barton, ASCL general secretary, said: “Covid has caused widespread educational disruption across the country.
“Unfortunately, there is still a high level of disruption and we are not out of the woods yet.”
He said the immediate priority for the Government should be to end disruption by increasing the vaccination roll out for young people aged 12-15 and encouraging twice-weekly home-testing.
James Bowen, National Association of Head Teachers director of policy, said: “This data serves as a useful reminder at just how disruptive the pandemic has been for children and young people.
“Schools worked hard to provide remote learning, but that is no substitute for being in the classroom."
Schools record general absence separately, with 3.3 per cent of sessions missed during the spring term due to absence.
In Nottinghamshire, the absence rate was 2.6 per cent.
A DfE spokeswoman said the vaccination programme and adherence to public health advice has put schools in a better position than the last academic year.
She said: “We continue to work with parents and school and college staff to maximise students’ time in the classroom, and our long-term education recovery plan, supported by more than £3 billion to date, will deliver world -class teacher training and give millions of children access to high-quality tutoring.”