99% of state-funded schools open to children

New data from the Department for Education has revealed that 99% of state-funded schools are now open to children.

The Department for Education study shows that this is a higher rate than between March and May 2020, when schools were previously asked to open only to children of critical workers and vulnerable children. Around 80% of schools were open in May 2020.

During the 2020/21 autumn term, the average on-site attendance in state-funded schools was 86%. Following the restriction of on-site attendance to vulnerable children and children of critical workers, on-site attendance was 19% on 4 March.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Yesterday, it was lovely to see the happy scenes as all pupils and teachers returned to schools and colleges across the country. Early indications are that approximately 99% of state-funded schools are open – with pupils returning to the classroom as planned.

“Being back in the classroom has huge benefits to pupils’ wellbeing, as well as their education. I am hugely grateful to schools and colleges for all the planning and preparation to make sure all students are able to return safely to the classroom.”

Since schools reopened yesterday (8 March), there are now strengthened protective measures in place, including the wearing of face coverings by all students and adults in secondary schools and colleges wherever social distancing cannot be maintained.

All secondary and college students, all staff, and family members of students are all eligible for twice-weekly rapid asymptomatic testing.

In the run up to the reopening, secondary schools across the region have been working tirelessly to ensure lateral flow testing facilities are in place, with some schools testing students ahead of their official return.

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