Management information provided by schools in Wales on pupils present in maintained schools from 7 September 2020 to 8 January 2021.
The figures in this release for the week commencing 4 January are provisional and are impacted by recent announcements regarding the return to schools following the Christmas holidays.
On 17 December the Welsh Local Government Association and the Welsh Government agreed on plans for a phased return to school in January. The new term started on 4 January although many schools will have scheduled an INSET day that day. The majority of pupils were expected back to school on 11 January with a full return by 18 January at the latest. These plans were updated on 4 January 2021 when the Minister for Education announced that all schools and colleges should move to online learning until 18 January.
Data for the week commencing 4 January will be updated in our releases scheduled for both the 20 January and 27 January.
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.
Other announcements that will impact historical data
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.
On 10 December 2020 the Minister for Education announced that all secondary schools and colleges in Wales would move to online learning for the last week of term before Christmas. Many primary schools also closed during this last week of term. As a result of this the percentage of pupils present in school for the week commencing 14 December was much lower than previous weeks.
- An average of 4.4% of pupils were present in school over the week of 4 January to 8 January. This information is provisional and will be revised on 20 January.
- The percentage of pupils present rose steadily from the start of the autumn term and was at 88% in the week commencing 5 October, before falling in the weeks leading up to half term.
- After the autumn 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 then fell leading up to the Christmas holidays.
- 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.
- The majority of all sessions missed during the week of 4 January to 8 January were due to 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 ranged from 87% to 93% between 9 November and 4 December with an average of 91%, before falling over the last 2 weeks of term before Christmas. Over the 2018-19 academic year average attendance was 94%.
Background and context
The Education Minister announced ‘back to school’ plans on 9 July. 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 2020 to 8 January 2021 , file type: ODS, file size: 41 KB
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