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Management information provided by schools in Wales on pupils present in maintained schools from 7 September to 11 December 2020.

This release will not be published on 30 December 2020 or 6 January 2021. The last publication of 2020 will be on 23 December. Publication will resume on 13 January 2021.


Please see the accompanying quality report for further information.

This data is management information extracted from school management information systems once a week. It covers pupils who were present at maintained nursery, primary, middle, secondary and special schools and includes pupils of all ages. It also includes some pupils from Pupil Referral Units.

The information in this release relates to pupils who were physically present on the school premises for at least one school session each day. Pupils who are learning from home due to COVID-19, including online learning, or are otherwise not on the school premises, are counted as ‘not present’ in this context. This collection allows us to measure the number of pupils that do and do not have direct contact with staff and other pupils at school during this pandemic.

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.

On 19 October 2020 the First Minister announced a two week coronavirus firebreak for Wales, beginning at 6pm on Friday 23 October and ending on Monday 9 November. This period covered the half-term holiday for maintained schools in Wales and the week commencing Monday 2 November. In this week, the vast majority of pupils in years 9 and above continued their learning from home.

The figures for the week commencing 2 November do not include any data for pupils in years 9 or above as they were not expected to be present in school. Pupils in years 9 or above tend to have lower attendance rates than younger age groups and the figures for the week commencing 2 November may be a little higher as a result.

Main points

  • An average of 70% of pupils were present in school over the week of 7 December to 11 December. This information is provisional and will be revised on 23 December.
  • The percentage of pupils present rose steadily from the start of term and was at 88% in the week commencing 5 October, before falling in the weeks leading up to half term.
  • After half term the percentage of pupils present was highest in the week commencing 9 November, at 90%. This was the first week after half term that all pupils were required to attend and was also the end of the firebreak in Wales. The rate has fallen since then.
  • Boys are less likely to be present in school than girls. This is the same as the pattern seen in our historical publications where boys have lower attendance rates. The difference is usually less than 1 percentage point.
  • Primary school pupils are more likely to be present than secondary school pupils.
  • Amongst statutory school age pupils, pupils in year 11 are the least likely to be present in school.
  • Over half of all sessions missed during the week of 7 December to 11 December were either due to remote learning (code “[“) or an absence directed by the school (code “Y”). The data in this table is a count of half day school sessions missed and is not a count of pupils.
  • Table 7 shows daily attendance calculated to be comparable to that published in previous years. It shows that attendance has ranged from 76% to 93% since 9 November with an average of 90%. Over the 2018-19 academic year average attendance was 94%.
The percentage of pupils present each day is steady at around 87-88 per cent, having inreased rapidly at the start of September during the phased opening of schools.

Background and context

The Education Minister announced ‘back to school’ plans on 9 July 2020. This included a two week period from 1 September where schools could have the flexibility to focus on priority year groups. The first day that all pupils were expected back in school was Monday 14 September.

Operational guidance for schools from the autumn term was published on 13 July and includes guidance on the recording of attendance.

On Thursday 5 November, Public Health Wales published a summary report on cases of COVID-19 that are linked to schools and colleges. This data is useful context to set alongside the information in this release.

National Statistics status

These statistics are not National Statistics and have been produced quickly in response to developing national and local events.


Datasets and interactive tools

Pupils present in maintained schools: 7 September to 11 December 2020 , file type: ODS, file size: 38 KB

38 KB
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Steve Hughes

Telephone: 0300 025 5060


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