Almost half of England's secondary schools have pupils self-isolating at home after potentially being in contact with a positive-testing staff member or pupil, new figures reveal.
Data published by the Department for Education shows that more than one in five state schools had pupils off self isolating because of Covid-19 within schools.
This included 46 per cent of state funded secondary schools and 16 per cent of state funded primary schools.
However the department has stopped publishing figures showing the proportion of schools which are fully open or partially closed because of Covid-19.
Last week that data showed that the proportion of secondary schools that were partly closed had increased to more than one in five.
Partial closures: More than one-in-five secondary schools not fully open
Investigation: One in five schools have had coronavirus cases
The new data, collected on Thursday 15 October, shows that attendance in schools was down to 89.2 per cent from 89.8 per cent last week.
It also reveals that more than one in 10 schools (11-13 per cent) had more than 30 pupils self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus inside the school.
The DfE said that the average size of groups being asked to self isolate was 12 per cent of primary school pupils and 4 to 5 per cent of secondary school pupils.
The figures published today showed 99.7 per cent of state-funded schools were open, down slightly from last week.
The DfE said that it estimated 4 to 5 per cent of pupils in state-funded schools did not attend school for COVID-19 related reasons on Thursday 15 October.
- 0.1 per cent of pupils with a confirmed case of coronavirus
- 0.5 per cent pupils with a suspected case of coronavirus
- 3.9- 4.3 per cent of pupils self-isolating due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus
- 0.2 per cent of pupils in schools closed for COVID-19 related reasons.
Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The fact that nearly half of secondary schools have recorded one or more pupils self-isolating due to the protocols necessitated by the Covid pandemic, illustrates the continuing high level of disruption they are dealing with.
“School and college leaders and staff across all phases have done a remarkable job in managing these incredibly difficult circumstances and getting through to half term.
“They haven’t received enough support from the government over this time in relation to the availability of Covid tests, access to timely public health advice, and the impact of the costs they are incurring in implementing Covid safety measures without reimbursement from the government."
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “Over 99% of schools have been open every week since term began, with over 7.3 million pupils attending last week to learn from brilliant teachers and spend time with friends.
“As expected, a small proportion of pupils are self-isolating - but this is similar to previous weeks, and the average group size is small compared to the total number of pupils.
“From their first day self-isolating, schools are expected to provide pupils with remote education, which is in line with what they receive in school so they do not fall behind.”