Commenting on the latest attendance figures for schools, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:   

“Yet again school attendance figures are dreadful – more than 1 in 5 secondary pupils were absent and 1 in 8 primary pupils. 

“The lockdown has failed to bring down coronavirus cases amongst pupils and so school attendance is significantly lower than when the second lockdown began. 

“The only way to improve school attendance is for the Government to act to bring down coronavirus infection rates in schools. 

“While the national figures are dreadful, we also know they are averages. There is very significant regional and local variation. The Government are hiding this information from the public because it will show how much disruption coronavirus is causing particularly in the north of England and how unfair their plans are to run exams with only minor adjustments next summer."