Commenting on the latest attendance figures to 17 June, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
“The new attendance figures are very worrying. In secondary schools the rate of absence for Covid-related reasons has tripled in just one week, while in primary schools the rate has doubled in a week. If the situation is not brought under control, the national situation on Covid in schools could rapidly return to the unwelcome peaks seen earlier in the pandemic.
“In the week before half-term, almost a third of secondary pupils in Bolton (31%) and over a fifth of primary pupils (21%) were absent for Covid-related reasons. We are now seeing the effect of the spreading Delta variant on national figures, and absences from school are only likely to continue rising in the coming weeks, along with obvious disruption to pupils’ education.
“The SAGE papers released last week assume that transmission in school can be reduced by 30% with mask wearing and mass testing. We believe it is essential that the Government reintroduce these measures to keep school attendance as near to normal as possible.”