To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) schools and (b) colleges in Wirral that are facing difficulties in keeping fully open to students as a result of delays in teachers or their family members getting covid-19 test results.
22 September 2020
Keeping close track of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in schools is a priority to the Government. The Department is currently collecting data from schools on a daily basis, as well as gathering information from local areas and following up with individual settings to confirm that procedures for requiring pupils to isolate are well understood and that necessary decisions are made on the basis of public health advice.
Testing capacity is the highest it has ever been, and we are working to provide further priority access for teachers. The home testing kits supplied to schools and colleges are only for those who develop the symptoms of COVID-19 and face significant barriers to accessing a test. In particular, these tests kits will help symptomatic staff who test negative, and are not close contacts of confirmed cases, to get back to work as soon as they feel well enough.
The Department collects data on the number of schools that have indicated that they have sent children home due to COVID-19 containment measures and have attendance data for schools that have done so. We are currently looking at the quality of the data with a view to publishing it as part of the official statistics series. The series includes published data on school openings and attendance, which shows that over 99.9% of state-funded schools were open on 10 September and that attendance in state-funded schools was 88%. More information is available at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.
Public Health England (PHE) leads in holding data on infection, incidence and COVID-19 cases overall. PHE have published data on COVID-19 incidents by institution, including educational settings, which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports (page 16).