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One in nine pupils absent from school as lack of testing drives fears of ‘lockdown by default’

Absence rate more than double pre-Covid times last Thursday (Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)
Absence rate more than double pre-Covid times last Thursday (Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

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

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Florida’s lack of transparency about election security funds aided alleged coverup, watchdog says

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A public corruption scandal in a rural Florida elections office just an hour west of the state capital reveals how easily federal dollars meant for election security can be diverted to cover up malfeasance, a government watchdog says.

The former elections supervisor in the panhandle’s Liberty County is charged with using election security funds to hide $42,000 in personal spending sprees – a potential accountability problem in any small office where one person holds the purse strings and nobody else is watching, observers said. The case’s first hearing is Monday.

The lack of oversight was exacerbated by a state-mandated nondisclosure agreement supervisors had to sign to get the election security money in the first place, they said. 

“Especially when funds are meant to be used for a certain purpose, there needs to be transparency to let the public know the funds were used for the purpose given,”

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