More than one in nine pupils were absent from school last week, government figures show, as teachers and unions warned a lack of available coronavirus tests meant more schools would be forced to close, leading to “lockdown by default”.
After schools reopened in England following six months of closure during the pandemic, education secretary Gavin Williamson touted the fact that 99.9 per cent of schools were open to at least some pupils.
But absence rates were more than double that of pre-Covid times, with Department for Education (DfE) statistics suggesting 12 per cent of pupils were not in attendance on 10 September.
Some 92 per cent of state schools were fully open, the DfE estimates, providing face-to-face teaching for pupils all day with no groups self-isolating. In these schools, 90 per cent of pupils were in