Management information provided by schools in Wales on pupils present in maintained schools from 7 September 2020 to 23 July 2021.
This is not the latest release in the series: Attendance of pupils in maintained schools
Information on pupils present in schools during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is the final publication of the academic year.
The 2020/21 academic year ended on 20 July 2021. The majority of schools had no pupils present on 19 to 20 July due to INSET days. Therefore, this headline presents data up to 16 July only. The figures for the latest two weeks have been revised.
From 22 February schools began to open for pupils in the Foundation Phase (pupils aged 3 to 7) with attendance for those pupils being phased in over the week in some local authorities. From 15 March, all remaining primary school children and children in qualification years were able to return to learning on site. From 12 April, all remaining pupils were able to return to learning on site.
This release contains information about known COVID-19 related absences (see table 1, 2, 7 and 8).
Note: The majority of pupils in years 11 and 13 are no longer present in school. They are not present because they have finished compiling their evidence for their teacher assessed grades at GCSE and A level.
- An average of 77% of all pupils were present in school over the week of 12 July to 16 July (table 2).
- 8.6% of pupils were absent due to a known COVID-19 related reason over the week of 12 July to 16 July (table 2).
- An average of 6% of all primary age pupils and 13% of all secondary age pupils were absent due to a known COVID-19 related reason between 12 July and 16 July (table 7).
- Absence due to a known COVID-19 related reason was similar between primary and secondary age pupils up until mid-June where absences amongst secondary age pupils started to increase at a faster rate. The latest data shows that in July the percentage of pupils of secondary age absent is two to three times that of primary age pupils (table 7).
- 12% of pupils (55,600 pupils) have not been present for more than a week of face to face learning due to a known COVID-19 related reason since 12 April (5.5 days or more), with 45% of pupils (213,100 pupils) not present for more than a week for any reason since 12 April (table 8).
- For the week of 12 July to 16 July there was little difference between the percentage of girls and boys present in school. Between 4 January and 12 March, boys were more likely to be present in school than girls although the difference is usually less than 1.5 percentage points (table 4)
- Amongst statutory school age pupils over the week of 12 July to 16 July, the percentage of pupils present was highest for pupils in Year 6 (87%) (table 5).
- Amongst Year 11 and Year 13 pupils attendance dropped considerably to 9% and 25% respectively as these pupils have finished compiling the evidence for their teacher assessed grades. As a consequence there was an increase in sessions missed due to study leave from 739 for the week 17 May to 21 May to 9,025 for the week of 12 July to 16 July (table 6).
- A higher percentage of pupils were present during the lockdown restrictions between December 2020 and February 2021 than at any time during the first lockdown between March and June 2020. Data from the first lockdown can be found in the release on attendance at local authority settings.
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.
It has come to our attention that not all schools in Wales are continuing to record attendance electronically following the move to online learning. We are currently evaluating the impact of this on the published data. Any future revisions to the data may be more significant than has been the case to date.
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 2020. 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 2020 was much lower than previous weeks.
On 17 December 2020 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 2021 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 when the Minister for Education announced that all schools and colleges should move to online learning 18 January 2021. This period of online learning was subsequently extended until 12 February 2021.
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.
Background and context
The Education Minister announced ‘back to school’ plans on 9 July 2020. This included a two week period from 1 September 2020 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 2020.
From Thursday 5 November 2020, Public Health Wales have 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 23 July 2021 , file type: ODS, file size: 111 KB
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