The majority of secondaries in England had pupils off self-isolating last week after potential contact with Covid-19 cases in their school, the latest Department for Education figures reveal.
Data from the department shows that, on 22 October, more than a quarter of schools had one or more pupils self-isolating after a coronavirus case in school was confirmed.
And it estimates that between 6 and 7 per cent of pupils in state-funded schools in England – which is more than half a million pupils – did not attend school for Covid-19 related reasons.
Last week: Nearly half of secondaries have Covid cases
The figures show that 26 per cent of state schools were in this position – up from 21 per cent the week before.
This included 55 per cent of secondary schools – up from 46 per cent.
The figures published by the DfE today do not include schools that were away for half-term.
The DfE also said that approximately 86 per cent of pupils on roll in state-funded schools, excluding schools on half term, were in attendance.
Attendance in state-funded primary schools was 90 per cent and attendance in state-funded secondary schools was 82 per cent, excluding schools on half term.
The overall attendance figures have dropped from 89.2 per cent on 15 October.
However, the department said figures cannot be compared with previous weeks as figures for 22 October represent approximately 92 per cent of state-funded schools instead of all schools. This is because some areas were on half term last week.
The DfE will not be publishing figures for attendance next week based on this Thursday's results as the majority of schools will be on half term.
A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Over 99 per cent of schools have been open every week since term began and millions of pupils were attending last week, benefitting from time with their friends and teachers.
“As we would expect, some pupils are self-isolating in line with public health advice, but the average size of those groups is relatively small compared to the total number of pupils on roll.
“Remote education should be provided from the first full school day that a child has to remain at home to ensure they do not fall behind.”
The DfE has also said that not all pupils will be self-isolating because of potential contact with a positive case inside a school – a proportion of these may have come into contact with the virus elsewhere.