Children miss 38 school days each over two terms due to Covid

Children have lost dozens of school days due to the closure. Must read photo credit: Jacob King/PA Wire.

Education Department data showed that more than half of all possible school days were missed during two semesters in the region, as of March this year.

It comes as education chiefs have warned that the pandemic has caused massive disruption across England and warned schools “are not out of the woods yet”.

Students at Dudley missed the equivalent of 1.6 million school days between September and December last year and January through March 31 this year — roughly 38 days of missed school per student.

At Wolverhampton, students missed the equivalent of 1.5 million school days in two semesters which equates to roughly 39 per pupil. In Walsall, pupils missed 1.7 million school days over two semesters which equates to roughly 39 per pupil.

Elsewhere in Sandwell, students missed the equivalent of 2.2 million school days during the two semesters — roughly 41 per pupil. And in Staffordshire, pupils missed the equivalent of 3.8 million school days during the two terms – roughly 36 per pupil.

The figures include state-funded primary, secondary, and private schools in the region. Children across England were sent home to self-isolate when cases of coronavirus were detected in the fall.

But for the majority of the spring semester, students – with the exception of children of key workers and vulnerable pupils – have been asked to learn remotely amid the national lockdown. About 252 million school days were lost nationwide due to Covid-19 during both terms – 29.4 per cent.

Jeff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Covid has caused widespread educational disruption across the country, but the impact has not been uniform.

“Even when schools were fully open during the last school year, attendance varied widely depending on local conditions. Unfortunately, there is still a very high level of disruption going on this term and we are not out of the way yet.”

He said the government’s immediate priority should be to end the disorder by increasing vaccination for children aged 12 to 15 and encouraging home testing twice a week.

James Bowen, director of policy at the NAHT School Leaders Association, said: “This data serves as a useful reminder of how much the pandemic is affecting children and young people.

“Schools have worked hard to provide distance learning, but we know this is not a substitute for being in the classroom.”

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says regular lateral flow testing will help stop the spread of infection in education settings.

Across the West Midlands, the number of infections is 460.3 per 100,000 – with the highest rate for a local authority at 706 cases per 100,000 people. Last week, 27,442 positive cases were recorded here.

Sully Larkin, Public Health Adviser at West Midlands UKHSA, said: “With case rates on the rise, especially in the 10 to 19 age group, it is really important that children and young people get tested for lateral flow.

“We are also asking families and close friends to get tested quickly, because we are seeing increases in all age groups, especially those over the age of 60. Mixing with different generations during the holiday means an increased chance of asymptomatic transmission of the disease to people at increased risk, who may not have They receive the booster vaccination yet.

It is also important that children and young people get the Covid-19 vaccine. This is now easier than ever, as vaccines are now available through the school and through reception centers.”

Besides testing and vaccination, there are other important measures that children and their families can take to protect themselves such as ventilating spaces by opening windows, washing hands regularly and wearing face coverings in crowded indoor spaces.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said the vaccination program and adherence to public health advice had put schools in a better position than last school year.

She added: “We continue to work with parents, school and college staff to maximize students’ time in the classroom, and our Long-Term Education Recovery Plan, backed by more than £3 billion to date, will provide global teacher training and offer millions of children access to high-quality private tutoring. “.

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