ASCL comment on school attendance figures

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders comments on the school attendance statistics published today by the Department for Education.
It is good to see that the number of students missing from schools last week fell but the major headache for many education leaders remains one of trying to plug the gaps left by having almost a tenth of their teaching staff absent.

“Nobody could have envisaged the enduring significant disruption to education caused by Covid-19 when the pandemic first hit two years ago but the latest attendance statistics bear witness to absence levels that continue to pile enormous pressure on schools.
“Almost a quarter (23%) of schools had more than 15% of their teaching staff absent last week, with many having no option other than to continue to spend more of their dwindling budgets on supply staff, assuming that suitable staff are available. The government needs to acknowledge that this issue is not going away and provide schools with sufficient financial assistance to meet this costly drain on their budgets.