ASCL comment on school attendance figures

ASCL General Secretary Geoff Barton comments on the school attendance figures published today by the DfE. 
Commenting on the school attendance figures published today by the Department for Education, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

It’s no surprise that this set of statistics shows a further increase in pupil and teacher absence because of Covid-19. The situation has clearly been deteriorating through the course of this half term with many schools and colleges experiencing huge disruption. The Omicron variant threatens to unleash even more difficulties. The forthcoming Christmas holidays will at least provide a firebreak but there can be little doubt that the spring term will be challenging. 

“Schools and colleges have worked immensely hard throughout the course of this very tough term, and throughout the entirety of the pandemic, to keep education going as best they can in these turbulent circumstances. But the unrelenting pressure has been absolutely brutal. Education staff deserve huge credit for everything they have done and are doing.

“We would appeal to the government to back them up with more support, particularly in terms of Covid testing, ventilation, and more assistance with the financial cost of supply cover, and to communicate any new plans and measures in connection with the Omicron variant promptly and clearly.