Revealed: level of absence linked to Covid in Windsor and Maidenhead schools
Students at WINDSOR and Maidenhead missed tens of thousands of days of face-to-face teaching in the fall term after having to self-isolate or protect themselves due to Covid-19, figures show.
Schools across England reopened to all age groups from September, with students sent home in bubbles to self-isolate when cases of the coronavirus were detected.
Students in Windsor and Maidenhead missed the equivalent of 63,517 days of in-person instruction between September and December for this reason, according to Department of Education figures.
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This represents an absence rate of 4.9%, and equates to approximately three days per student.
Figures include state-funded primary, secondary and special schools in the region.
Schools have recorded general absences – including when permitted and unauthorized – separately, although this may include a child who is ill due to having Covid-19.
The absence rate in Windsor and Maidenhead for the fall quarter was around 4.2%, which was slightly lower than 4.8% the year before.
Across England, the overall absence rate for the autumn quarter was 4.7% – broadly in line with 4.9% a year earlier.
But an additional 7% of in-person instruction was missed due to self-isolation or shielding due to Covid-19 – that’s 33 million days, or five days per student.
Geoff Barton, secretary general of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the numbers show the fall term has been “an extremely busy time” for students.
“This predicament was made worse by significant problems at the start of the term, obtaining Covid tests for students and staff and obtaining public health support to deal with positive cases,” he said. -he declares.
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“The government’s refusal to give schools flexibility to complete school education before Christmas, which was accompanied by threats of legal action, made matters worse.
Schools were “gravely disappointed” by government leaders during the fall session, Barton added, including by the “painfully slow” rollout of laptops for underprivileged children that made the distance education more difficult.
The unauthorized absence rate at Windsor and Maidenhead schools was 0.8% in the fall term, which was similar to 0.9% in 2019.
The sick leave rate, which could include illness from positive coronavirus cases, was 2.7% – up from 3.1% the previous year.
Nationally, the disease rate has declined very slightly, which the DfE says may be due to lower cases of influenza and similar illnesses brought on by Covid-related restrictions.
The school leaders union NAHT said there was now growing concern about the spread of the Indian variant in schools, with more and more reports of class closings or bubbles.
Paul Whiteman, NAHT general secretary, said: “It is important that the government tackle this quickly, especially in the most affected areas. ”
A spokesperson for the Department of Education said schools had gone to great lengths during the fall term to become secure against Covid.
He added: “Where students needed to self-isolate, schools offered high-quality distance education, supported by an unprecedented government deployment of laptops and tablets for eligible children.
“It is positive to see the underlying absence slightly diminished from previous years, reflecting the efforts of schools to keep their students engaged through an incredibly difficult year.”