Staff absence: Schools screaming for more financial support as Covid infections soar

A teaching assistant looking after 90 pupils in the school hall. An untrained cover supervisor teaching a full timetable. The Covid staffing crisis is worsening significantly with schools screaming for more financial support.

Official attendance figures published on Tuesday (January 11) are concerning (DfE, 2022). They show that 4.9 per cent of teachers and school leaders – around 25,000 colleagues – were off due to Covid (infections and self-isolation) on January 6.

This is up from three per cent just before Christmas and includes around 20,000 with a confirmed case.

Furthermore, five per cent of teaching assistants and other support staff – around 35,000 colleagues – were also off on January 6 (up from 2.3 per cent pre-Christmas). This includes 27,000 or so (3.9 per cent) with a confirmed case.

Further evidence of the staffing crisis emerged from two snapshot surveys from the NASUWT and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT).

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