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Analysis of autumn term school attendance | Education Policy Institute


EPI (@EduPolicyInst) has released analysis of school attendance among local authorities throughout the autumn term, for both primary and secondary schools.

The analysis shows that average attendance among secondary schools was around 80-85% throughout most of the term – though there was significant variation within this, and large fluctuations in attendance among individual areas from week to week.

Attendance changed dramatically in the last week of term, just before Christmas: average secondary attendance dropped to 72%, driven by the upsurge in infections from mid-December.

The drop was considerable around London and the Thames estuary, with secondary attendance falling to about 40-45% in Bexley, Bromley, Enfield, Reading and Greenwich, about 35% in Medway and Kent, and under 25% in Redbridge, Thurrock and Havering.

Luke Sibieta, Research Fellow at the Education Policy Institute (EPI) said: 

“This analysis shows that in some parts around London and the Thames estuary, school attendance during the last week of the term before Christmas was exceptionally low. During this period, the share of secondary pupils absent for COVID-related reasons shot up to 30 per cent or more. This shows just how bad things can get, and how fast, when community infections are surging.  

“Frustratingly, this data was not made available at the beginning of January – having these figures would have been incredibly informative for the recent debate about whether schools could or should re-open.”  

“In future, it is important that all government data on schools is released in a timely and transparent way. This is key to an informed public debate, and instilling confidence amongst parents and school staff when schools do re-open to all pupils.”  

Figure: Secondary school attendance by local authority in England over the 2020 autumn term


You can read the analysis here

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