NAHT comments on latest school attendance data again

“Unfortunately the government’s decision to stop collecting any data from schools relating to covid absences means it is no longer possible to draw any conclusions from these attendance figures as to what the covid situation really is in schools.

“These changes are deeply troubling and ill-advised, and seem symptomatic of the government’s wider attempts to try to just pretend that the pandemic is over. The ‘living with covid plan’ is increasingly looking like an ‘ignoring covid plan’ when it comes to schools.

“This data does show that disruption is clearly still very high – almost 1 in 5 schools have more than 15% of their teachers and school leaders absent, and overall workforce absence is still close to the same level as at the start of term.

“Making such changes when staff and pupil covid absences remain high makes very little sense, and ultimately means that we have less information about why pupils have been absent from school. The lack of up-to-date information also raises serious questions about the government’s ability to respond quickly should cases start to rise or new variants emerge in the future.

“School leaders are seriously questioning the thinking behind this decision. An absence of information does not equate to an absence of covid.

“We continue to hear a sense of deep frustration from school leaders as they struggle to deal with the significant and on-going disruption caused by covid. Despite the government no longer collecting data, schools will still have to deal with the reality of higher than normal levels of staff and pupil absence. School leaders feel they have been abandoned.”