Survey suggests that state schools have more Covid absences than private schools

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15th January 2022 16:35 - Education

Survey suggests that state schools have more Covid absences than private schools: A survey commissioned by the Sutton Trust has found that state schools in England are experiencing more absences due to Covid-19 than their private school counterparts.

The polling of 6,964 teachers by Teacher Tapp also found that absences amongst staff were worse in schools from the most deprived areas, with almost three in 10 (29%) reporting that one in 10 staff were absent due to Covid-related illness. 

State schools on the whole were nearly twice as likely to report that one in 10 staff members were unable to attend school due to Covid (20%), compared to 12% of private school respondents. 

Amongst the reasons given for Covid impacting state schools more severely was 'smaller class sizes', 'urban school locations' with higher infection rates, 'staff age rates' (staff in more deprived areas are often younger), and private schools having access to their own testing processes. 

Issues around testing for Covid-19 were also highlighted by the survey, with a lack of available tests preventing staff members from coming into school. Eight percent of teachers polled said that staff at their school had not been able to come back in due to the inability of being able to test with lateral flow, or PCR tests. 

Schools are still being disrupted by Covid, not only in terms of absences, but also through lack of pupil access to devices so they are able to partake in remote learning, found the survey. Around a quarter of teachers polled at the time of the survey had prepared materials for home learning for students who were isolating, however, 26% of respondents said that more than 10% of the pupils who could not come into school due to Covid, do not have the digital resources to participate in remote learning.

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