The second half of the autumn term is set to be “even more difficult” for schools after a notable fall in pupil attendance due to Covid-19. It comes as anger at the DfE's Covid-19 response grows, especially after its decision to slash free laptop allocations. Pete Henshaw reports

The latest attendance figures published by the Department for Education (DfE, 2020) estimate that 557,000 pupils in state-funded schools did not attend due to Covid-related reasons on Thursday, October 22.

The figures have reignited anger at the DfE’s decision to restrict the allocation of free laptops to schools while at the same time making remote education for all pupils a legal requirement.

Schools are now braced for an increasingly difficult second half-term as infections rates continue to rise.

Up until now, the DfE’s weekly attendance figures have remained largely stable at around 90 per cent student attendance. However, last week saw roughly 86 per cent of pupils on roll in state-funded schools (excluding schools already on half-term) in attendance.

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