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Pupils: Quarantine

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL9006, tabled on 12 October 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many students at (1) secondary schools, (2) sixth forms, and (3) University Technical Colleges, did not attend in the week ending 9 October because they were isolating or quarantined; and how many of those students had access to a computer and an internet connection to facilitate remote learning.

Answered on

4 November 2020

Keeping close track of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in schools is a priority for the government. 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. This data is updated weekly and the most recent data can be found online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports.

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.

The department collects data on the number of schools that have indicated that they have sent children home due to COVID-19 containment measures. We are currently looking at the quality of that 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 at a national level approximately 99.3% of state-funded schools were fully open on 22 October (excluding schools on half term or inset days). Of the small proportion (0.7%) of schools that were closed, almost all were due to COVID-19 related reasons. Approximately 86% of all children on roll in all state-funded schools not on half term or inset days were in attendance on 22 October. This data is updated weekly and the most recent data can be found online at: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

During the summer term, the department provided over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers for disadvantaged pupils in year 10, children with a social worker and care leavers. The department has spent over £195 million on support for disadvantaged children and young people to access remote education through laptops and tablets, internet connectivity support, and access to online education platforms. We have delivered over 100,000 laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children during the autumn term. This is in addition to the over 220,000 delivered earlier this year.

We are also working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families who rely on a mobile internet connection.

Young people aged 16 to 19 without suitable laptops and tablets for education may be eligible for support through the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. Providers make decisions as to who receives a bursary, based on their own criteria.

The department does not hold data on the number of students self-isolating who do not have access to a computer and internet connection.