London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

School absence rates increase as more pupils fall ill

School absence rates increase as more pupils fall ill

Absence rates across schools in England rose sharply at the start of December as more pupils missed class due to illness, official figures suggest.

The proportion of children off sick rose to 7.5% in the week commencing 5 December - up from 6.1% the previous week and 2.6% at the start of the term.

Overall absence rates up to that week surpassed the whole of the 2021 autumn term, when Omicron was taking hold.

A head teachers' union said it was "concerning" for health and education.

The increase in absence has been driven by illness, the Department for Education said, and is "in line with recent increases in rates of seasonal flu and other seasonal respiratory illnesses".

The illness absence rate for the whole autumn term up to the week commencing 5 December was 4.3%.

This is slightly lower than the 4.4% recorded across the 2021 autumn term - although it is expected to rise in the data for the final week of term, to be released in the New Year.

However, the overall absence rate recorded for the 2022 autumn term up to the week commencing 5 December was 7.3% - higher than the 6.9% recorded across the whole of the autumn term in 2021.

That is partly due to all types of unauthorised absence having increased this term, compared with both pandemic and pre-pandemic levels.

Cases of flu have been on the rise in recent weeks, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), while the increase in cases of Covid has been "modest".

Flu was most prevalent among those aged between five and 14 in the week commencing 5 December, the UKHSA said in its most recent report.

'Especially challenging'

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said staff had worked hard in the run-up to Christmas to keep attendance levels high.

"This has been especially challenging in recent weeks, however, with illnesses including Strep A and Covid-19 affecting attendance alongside flu and winter colds," he said.

"While schools have managed this situation as best they can, the rise in absence rates is concerning from both a health and education point of view."

Absence due to illness remained relatively stable - between 2.5% and 2.9% - from 2016 to 2019. But schools faced massive disruption due to Covid in the autumn term of 2020.

In Wales, attendance statistics released on Wednesday showed a higher rate of overall absence than in England, with 10.3% of school sessions missed so far this academic year.


Related Articles

London Daily
Netanyahu Denounces World Court Ruling on Israeli Occupation
Adidas Drops Bella Hadid Over Controversy
Global Outage Caused by CrowdStrike Update Impacts Millions
Massive Flight Cancellations Across the U.S. Due to Microsoft Outage
Global Windows Outage Causes Chaos Across Banks, Airlines, and More
Russia Accuses Ukraine of Using Chemical Weapons
UK's Flawed COVID-19 Planning Exposed by Inquiry
Ursula von der Leyen Wins Second Term as European Commission President
Police Officer Injured in Attack in Central Paris
Hulk Hogan absolutely tore it up at the RNC.
Paris is being "cleansed" of migrants and homeless people ahead of the Olympics.
Lamine Yamal arriving at his school after winning the Euros
Campaigners Urge UK Government to Block Shein's London IPO
UK Labour Government's Legislative Agenda
UK Labour Government to Regulate Powerful AI Models
Record Heat Temperatures in Ukraine Amid Power Crisis
UK Government Plans to Remove 92 Hereditary Peers from House of Lords
King Charles III Delivers Labour Government's First King's Speech
Officials Remove 'Disastrous' Label from Liz Truss's Mini-Budget
Keir Starmer Outlines Ambitious Plans for Government
Japan to Allocate $3.3 Billion to Ukraine Using Frozen Russian Assets
EU Parliament Condemns Hungarian PM's Russia Visit
FBI Struggles to Find Motive Behind Trump Shooting Incident
Kremlin Criticizes EU Rejection of Orban’s Ukraine Peace Proposal
Google and Microsoft Now Consume More Power Than Several Large Countries
Secret Service Criticized for Lack of Sniper Protection During Trump Shooting
US Senator Robert Menendez Found Guilty of Corruption
Deep Concerns about Political Violence as US Approaches Election Day
Trump Media Shares Surge Following Re-Election Bid Boost
The gunman who attempted to assassinate Donald Trump Saturday is 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks
Banksy's Influence on Port Talbot's Street Art Scene
Bodies of Two Men Found in Suitcases on Bristol Bridge, 24-Year-Old Arrested
Kate Middleton to Attend Wimbledon Men's Final Amid Cancer Recovery
Russia's Electronic Warfare Neutralizes Western Weapons in Ukraine
Trump Challenges Biden to Debate and Golf Match
Macron Accuses Israeli Minister of Election Interference
US Senator Highlights Weaknesses in Western Military Industry During Ukraine Conflict
George Clooney Urges Biden to Withdraw from Presidential Race
Political Shift in the UK: A Detailed Analysis of Labour's Victory and Future Prospects
Viktor Orbán's Peace Mission: A Diplomatic Controversy in the EU
India Advocates Peace and Prosperity: PM Modi's Speech in Austria
New UK PM Keir Starmer Reaffirms Strong Support for Ukraine at NATO Summit
Spain PM Pedro Sanchez Denounces Double Standards on Gaza at NATO Summit
UK Police Arrest Suspect in Crossbow Attack After Three Women Killed
Sunita Williams Safe on ISS, to Address Earth on July 10
Biden Affirms Commitment To Presidential Race
France Faces Political Turmoil and Airport Strikes Ahead of Paris Olympics 2024
Putin Hosts PM Modi for a Private Meeting
TSMC: The Taiwanese Chip Giant Valued Over $1 Trillion
Boeing Pleads Guilty Over 737 MAX Crashes