ASCL comment on school attendance figures

22/09/2020
Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the school attendance figures published today.
 
Commenting on the school attendance figures published today, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“These figures show that the number of pupils in attendance has fallen slightly compared to the same point in the week before, while the number of schools that were not fully open due to Covid-related reasons rose from 1% to 4%.

“Under the circumstances of rising infection rates in the community, and severe problems with the Covid testing system, that is not at all surprising. Frankly, it is a great relief that the situation is not a lot worse.

“Schools are working incredibly hard to manage this very difficult situation, and leaders tell us that there is often little time left in the day for anything other than dealing with symptomatic or positive cases, and navigating the complexities of the public health system.

“This intensity will be hard to sustain over many weeks and months and action is needed to better support schools.

“The Covid testing system hasn’t been adequate and capacity has to improve so that tests can be obtained quickly. And, across society, we have a responsibility individually to behave in a way that reduces the risk of transmission and brings the infection rate down. 

“This will help to keep schools open and minimise disruption to children’s education in what is clearly going to be a long, hard winter. We all need to do our bit.”