Commenting on the latest government release of school attendance data, Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: 

 “This week’s small fall in school attendance continues the pattern of the half term. We are worried that the national figures obscure significant disruption to schools in a handful of hotspots such as Bolton and Blackburn-with-Darwen. 

'We call on the Government to release school attendance figures for the local authorities to be released before the middle of June. It is vital that all schools continue mitigation strategies, such as good ventilation, mask wearing and encouragement of lateral flow tests. 

'The Government should consider supporting secondary schools to carry out lateral flow tests on all secondary children in the week after the upcoming half term in all of these hotspot areas.  The second wave of Covid caused immense disruption to children’s education.  Everyone must work to ensure that does not happen again.”