Skip to main content

Management information provided by schools in Wales on pupils present in maintained schools from 7 September 2020 to 15 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 from 4 Jan onwards will be updated in our release scheduled for the 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.


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, definitions of vulnerable children, and the timing of changes to lockdown rules which have an impact on attendance at school.

Main points

  • An average of 7.5% of pupils were present in school over the week of 11 January to 15 January. This information is provisional and will be revised on 27 January.
  • Over the last 2 weeks boys have been more likely to be present in school than girls. This is different when compared to the pattern seen in our historical publications, where boys have had lower attendance rates. The difference is usually less than 1 percentage point.
  • Over the last 2 weeks secondary school pupils have been more likely to be present than primary school pupils.
  • Over the last 2 weeks, amongst statutory school age pupils, pupils in year 6 are the least likely to be present in school.
  • The majority of all sessions missed during the week of 11 January to 15 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.
The percentage of pupils present each day has usually been between 80 and 90 per cent since 14 September 2020, before falling in the last two weeks of term before Christmas.

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 15 January 2021 , file type: ODS, file size: 38 KB

38 KB
If you need a more accessible version of this document please email Please tell us the format you need. If you use assistive technology please tell us what this is.


Steve Hughes

Telephone: 0300 025 5060

Rydym yn croesawu galwadau a gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg / We welcome calls and correspondence in Welsh.


Telephone: 0300 025 8099

Rydym yn croesawu galwadau yn Gymraeg / We welcome calls in Welsh.