One in eight pupils out of school as Covid worsens

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One in eight pupils out of school as Covid worsens
Pupils walking to schoolImage source, PA Media

About a million children - one out of every eight pupils - were absent from schools in England last Thursday, as Covid cases rose.

The official figures also show staffing problems worsening, with a quarter of schools seeing teachers and leaders' absence rates above 15%.

Across England as a whole, about 9% of teachers were absent.

The government has recently removed the requirement for pupils to wear masks, after loosening Covid restrictions.

Of the one million pupils (12.6%) absent, 415,000 were out of school for Covid-related reasons.

Also on 20 January, 47,000 teachers and school leaders were absent - 3,000 more than two weeks previously - half for Covid-related reasons.

National Association of Head Teachers general secretary Paul Whiteman said: "Covid absence figures for pupils are the worst they have been this academic year.

"Schools are struggling to keep things running, with nearly 10% of their staff off, on average - but for some, this is much higher.

"Our members are repeatedly telling us that they are having to drop everything to find cover and that just keeping things going is a challenge."

And this was putting huge pressure on pupils in exam years.

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