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Nearly nine in ten pupils return to class as schools fully reopen

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Nearly nine in 10 secondary pupils were back in class a week after schools in England began to fully reopen, Government figures show.

About 89 per cent of secondary school pupils were in class on March 15 – a week after secondary schools began to stagger the return of pupils for mass testing, the Department for Education analysis shows.

Attendance in primary schools began at 96 per cent at the start of last week, but it fell to 94 per cent on March 15.

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has warned that attendance levels will “be bumpy” as pupils testing positive for Covid-19, and their close contacts, are still being sent home to self-isolate.

The data suggests more than 60,000 pupils were out of class last week as they were self-isolating due to a possible contact with a Covid case.

We must sound a note of caution over what attendance levels will look like for what remains of this term, because we are picking up reports of positive Covid cases and close contacts having to be sent home to self-isolate

Millions of pupils in England began returning to class last week after months of remote education.

Secondary schools were given flexibility to stagger the return of their pupils last week, as these students are being asked to take voluntary Covid-19 tests on site as part of their return to class.

Overall, attendance in state schools steadily increased from 68 per cent on March 8 to 89 per cent on Thursday March 11.

The Department for Education (DfE) estimates that approximately one per cent of all state school pupils did not attend school for Covid-related reasons on Thursday last week.

This includes 33,000 pupils who have been self-isolating due to a potential contact with a Covid-19 case from inside the educational setting, and a further 31,000 pupils self-isolating due to a possible contact outside of school.

Meanwhile, 7,000 pupils were absent because they suspected they had Covid, 5,000 were off after testing positive for Covid, and 2,000 were absent as their school was closed due to Covid reasons.

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