22nd October 2020

School return: Covid-19 and school attendance

In March 2020, the outbreak of Covid-19 across England led to the closure of schools to nearly all pupils. This was an unprecedented event in peacetime Britain. This briefing covers:

  • What happened in the period March – July 2020, a period when over 575m days of schooling were lost across England.
  • What has happened since schools returned in September 2020. Including:
    • How many children are now attending school
    • How many children are being sent home due to Covid
  • What we still do not know, and the children we’re concerned about. Including a rise in ‘unexplained absence’, not related to Covid
  • What children have told us about the return to school. A Children’s Commissioner survey of 1,500 children on their return to school found:
    • 71% of children agreed that they were excited to be back at school
    • 93% said they were happy to see their schoolfriends again.
    • 63% were worried about not being able to go to school under another lockdown.