Last week 99.9% of state funded schools were open with 87% of pupils in attendance.
The estimates are based on a survey carried out last Thursday (17 September). Around 75% of schools responded to the survey and the results were then adjusted to provide a national picture.
The surveys are carried out each week. 99.9% of schools being open is unchanged from 10 September, while the 87% of pupils in attendance is one percentage point down. An increasing proportion of schools are fully open – with that figure rising from 92% on 10 September to 94% last week.
We are in daily contact with local authorities to monitor the very small number of schools that are closing to some or all of their pupils, to ensure they have only done so on advice from their local Health Protection Team, and to support them to reopen to some or all of their pupils as soon as is appropriate.
The majority of schools that are closing are only doing so for some pupils – the small class or year group bubble that has been in close contact with a suspected case.
Where schools are closing to all pupils it is for the purposes of deep cleaning and working with local health protection teams with a view to reopening as soon as possible, and not because the whole school population is likely to have come into contact with a confirmed case and needs to close for an extended period.
We will continue to work with schools to ensure all appropriate steps are taken to keep pupils and staff safe. As set out by the Chief Medical Officers of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, coronavirus is rarely serious in children. They have also made clear - that the risk of catching coronavirus at school is low, meaning that the risk to children being out of school is, in fact, far greater.
Our guidance for a full opening of schools, which includes expectations around remote education, is available here.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
The education and wellbeing of children has and always will be my priority, which is why it’s so encouraging to see that almost all schools were open to pupils last week, meaning millions of children and young people continue to benefit from direct interaction with their friends and teachers.
As we would expect, this data shows a small number of pupils are self-isolating in line with public health advice, and schools, colleges and early years settings across the country continue to work tremendously hard to ensure protective measures are in place to reduce the risks of transmission. All have access to timely advice and support through our helpline if they have a positive case.
The fact so many schools are open is testament to that hard work and, crucially, means children and young people can continue their education with minimal disruption.