More than one million pupils in England off school last week due to Covid, figures show

ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports on the impact Covid has had on school attendances last week in England

More than one million children in England were out of school last week due to Covid-19, representing more than one in seven of the total pupils in the country.

An estimated 1.05 million pupils were out of school on July 15, the equivalent of around one in seven (14.3%), according to the Department for Education (DfE).

These include approximately 934,000 children self-isolating due to a possible contact with a Covid-19 case, 47,000 pupils with a confirmed case of coronavirus, and 34,000 with a suspected case of Covid-19.A further 35,000 pupils were off as a result of school closures due to Covid-related reasons.The figure is the highest since pupils returned to school in March.

The bubble and self-isolation policy came to an end in England on Monday. Credit: PA

There were 8.9 million pupils attending 24,400 schools in England in 2020/21.

Most schools broke up at the end of the last week for the summer holidays, with some breaking up this week.

On Monday, England moved to stage four of its roadmap out of lockdown which brought most restrictions in the country to an end.

The use of “bubbles” in schools and colleges also came to an end on Monday.

Previously the rules said that children have to self-isolate for 10 days if another pupil in their bubble – which can be an entire year group at secondary school – tests positive for coronavirus.

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The figures released by the government on Tuesday showed the proportion of pupils in England out of school for Covid-19 related reasons stood at 14.3% on July 15, up from 11.2% on July 8 and 8.5% on July 1.

An estimated 6.6% of teachers and school leaders were absent due to Covid-19 on July 15, up from 5.4% on July 8 and 4.2% on July 1.

For teaching assistants and other staff, the proportion absent due to Covid-19 was estimated to be 6.4% on July 15, up from 5.2% on July 8 and 3.9% on July 1.

The government cited the break up of schools for summer as a reason for why July 19 was the best date to end restrictions in England, arguing if they waited any longer any lifting of rules would coincide with the onset of winter and the new term.