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Schools in Norfolk and Suffolk at per cent attendance

A survey carried out by the Government has revealed that just over a tenth of pupils in Norfolk and Suffolk were in class on one day just before the summer holidays.

The Education Policy Institute said the figures, which show the vast majority of pupils across England were absent, confirm children have suffered significant learning loss during the coronavirus lockdown.

Since asking schools to close on March 20 to all but vulnerable children and those of critical workers, the Department of Education conducted a weekly survey of schools, colleges and nurseries to track attendance rates, highlighting how young people’s education has been affected by the pandemic.

New figures show the remarkable rates of attendance at schools during the crisis.
New figures show the remarkable rates of attendance at schools during the crisis.

The final survey on July 16 shows only 68 per cent of schools in Norfolk and Suffolk were open, with just 12 per cent of the area’s children present – a lower attendance than the national rate for England of 16 per cent.

Approximately 1.5 million children were in school on the day throughout the country – down from 1.6 million a week before, which was the largest number since lockdown began.

Natalie Perera, executive director and head of research at the organisation, said getting students back into the classroom in September is vital, but comes with a number of risks, particularly surrounding social distancing measures.

She said: “Schools will have gained experience from having some pupils present since March, but the reality is the situation next month will be vastly different to what we have seen so far, with an array of additional challenges.

“Big questions remain about the level of risk that school staff, pupils, and their families are being asked to take.”

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