Covid absence: Schools call for ‘more honesty’ from government

Slowing rates of Covid infection and absence among pupils and staff have been welcomed, but schools still face “significant operational challenges” and would like more acknowledgement of this fact from ministers.

The latest attendance figures (DfE, 2022) show that fewer pupils are off school for Covid-related reasons. However, teacher absences continue to rise albeit very slowly.

More than nine in every 100 teachers and school leaders are off for Covid-related reasons, including four in 100 who have a confirmed case.

And almost one quarter of state-funded schools report having 15% of teachers and leaders off.

It comes as new data from Schools North East shows that in January three-quarters of schools in the region reported staffing levels below 90%, dropping to 80% in a quarter of schools.

A statement from Schools North East, which is a schools-led regional network representing 1,150 schools in the region, said: “Throughout January, many schools have been in ‘crisis management’ mode. Staff are being taken away from regular teaching, with the curriculum being continually adapted to meet the changing demands of Covid. Schools are not yet back to ‘normal’, and it is important that the narrative around ‘recovery’ changes to take this into account.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here