Management information provided by schools in Wales on attendance of pupils in maintained schools from 6 September to 17 December 2021.
This headline presents information on pupils in attendance in schools during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The information published for the 2020/21 academic year related to pupils who were physically present on the school premises for at least one school session each day. This allowed us to measure the number of pupils that had direct contact with staff and other pupils at school during this pandemic.
For this current 2021/22 academic year, and following policy decisions on school bubbles and self-isolation we have returned to the definition of pupils in attendance in schools used in our historical statistical publications. This means that the data for this academic year and last one are not strictly comparable.
Analysis of the data for the first few weeks of the autumn term suggests that the current new measure of attendance is around 0.6 percentage points higher than the measure for pupils present used during the previous academic year.
Measuring COVID-19 related absence
We have improved the way we measure COVID-19 related absence in schools and this new data is shown for 22 November onwards. COVID-19 related absence is now recorded under a single new code (code “]”) and is defined as the sum of:
- Pupils who are absent from school because they are ill with COVID-19 (historically this was recorded within code “I”).
- Pupils who are remote learning due to COVID-19 (code “[“).
- Pupils who are directed to be absent by the school (code “Y”).
The data we previously published on COVID-19 related absence is not comparable with this new data because it did not include those who were ill with COVID-19 and has therefore been removed from this release.
The register codes that define which pupils are counted as in attendance can be found in Table 8 of the accompanying spreadsheet. All COVID-19 related absence is now recorded under a single code (“]”) and no data is collected separately for any of the three reasons of absence that make up COVID-19 related absence.
COVID-19 incidence in school age children
Trends in attendance are significantly affected by the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases amongst school age children. The latest data from Public Health Wales shows that cases are increasing more at this age group than any other age group.
The Welsh Government announced on 15 September 2021 that NHS Wales would begin to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to young people aged 12 to 15 from 4 October 2021. The rollout of this vaccination programme may also impact on the figures in this release.
- An average of 81.4% of all pupils were in attendance in school over the week of 13 December to 17 December 2021, down from 85.7% the week before. The figure for 6 December to 10 December 2021 has been revised down from 86.0%. Data for the latest two weeks is provisional.
- 4.7% of pupils were absent due to a known COVID-19 related reason over the week of 13 December to 17 December 2021.This is a new estimate which includes pupils who are ill with COVID-19 and is not comparable to any data we have previously published on COVID-19 related absence.
- An average of 4.1% of all primary pupils and 5.7% of all secondary pupils were absent due to a known COVID-19 related reason between 13 December and 17 December 2021.
- For the week of 13 December to 17 December 2021 the percentage of girls attending school was higher than the percentage of boys attending school for the first time this academic year. This is similar to the pattern seen in our historical publications, where boys have had lower attendance rates.
- Amongst statutory school age pupils over the week of 13 December to 17 December 2021, the percentage of pupils in attendance was highest for pupils in Years 2 and 3 (85.4%) and lowest for pupils in Year 11 (74.2%).
- The most common reason for sessions missed during the week of 13 December to 17 December 2021 was illness (code “I”), with 6.2% of sessions missed for this reason. The data for code “I” (illness) does not include COVID-19 related illness from 22 November 2021 onwards and is not comparable to the data before this date. The data in this table is a count of half day school sessions missed and is not a count of pupils.
A quality report is in development and will be published as soon as possible.
This data is management information extracted from school management information systems once a week. It covers pupils who were in attendance at maintained nursery, primary, middle, secondary and special schools and includes pupils of all ages. It also includes some pupils from Pupil Referral Units.
This data has not undergone the same level of quality assurance as official statistics and the data may be subject to future revisions. The figures for the latest two weeks should be treated as provisional. Earlier figures are final and are not subject to change.
All 4 nations are publishing regular data on attendance in school. We do not advise making comparisons between the nations due to differences in data collection methods, presentation and definitions.
Background and context
National Statistics status
These statistics are not National Statistics and have been produced quickly in response to developing national and local events.
Publication schedule over the Christmas period 2021
The next edition of this series will be published on 12 January 2022 and will include data for the first week of the new Spring school term.
There will be no publication in this series over the Christmas school holidays.
Datasets and interactive tools
Attendance of pupils in maintained schools: 6 September to 17 December 2021 , file type: ODS, file size: 65 KB
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