GCSEs 2021: DfE admits to no data on exam pupil absence

DfE admits attendance data for exam candidates 2021 is 'crucial' yet says it would be extra work for schools to provide
8th December 2020, 1:55pm
Dave Speck

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GCSEs 2021: DfE admits to no data on exam pupil absence

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/gcses-2021-dfe-admits-no-data-exam-pupil-absence
No Data On Exam Candidates Attendence

Despite introducing a package of measures to compensate next year's exam candidates for loss of learning in the coronavirus pandemic, the Department for Education has today admitted it doesn't know how much school they are missing.

Schools minister Nick Gibb admitted today that the DfE doesn't collect attendance for different year groups - despite this being "crucial".

He was speaking to MPs on the Commons Education Select Committee this morning when committee chair Robert Halfon MP asked him: "Surely the crucial thing for you as a department is to find out how many exam year students are missing school?"


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Mr Gibb replied: "Yes and there's a lot of information that we could ask for that would be useful, but you've just got to be cognisant of the work that this requires of schools to fill it in every day."

Mr Halfon replied: "Why is it a lot of extra work for schools just to provide the number of kids [absent] in exam years…wouldn't that give you a proper picture of what's going on and what needs to be done?"

Mr Gibb said: "Well we don't just rely on this. We also have our regional schools commissioners' teams, the REACT teams…All over the country, they are talking regularly to secondary schools and primary schools in their areas, so we also have intelligence that comes to the department via that route. So we do know what's happening in our schools."

Mr Gibb also told the committee that the discussions of a new expert advisory group being set up to advise the DfE on regional variations in learning loss ahead of next year's exams will not be made public.

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