Commenting on the latest fortnightly statistics, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

"Half term provided a reduction in the rates of transmission, which was foreseeable, but we do not have that fire shield to get us through the remainder of autumn term. The good news is unlikely to last with the current disengagement of Government over schools and colleges.  

"This time last year saw the virus raging through schools, and it is essential this does not happen again. We must do everything we can to keep students in school, on site and to do so safely. The profession is playing its part in this aim, but will Government? 

"It is to be hoped that the fall in Covid-related absence is maintained but this can only be ensured through improved mitigation measures in schools if we are to avoid history repeating itself. Several local authorities have recently moved to new arrangements, including social distancing measures, avoidance of large gatherings and the reintroduction of face coverings in secondary schools. These are sensible approaches which can help keep transmission down."