15th December 2020

Education Policy Institute comments on new school attendance data

Today the Department for Education has published new data on school attendance across local authorities in England – the first time such data has been published by the UK government since October. 

Commenting on the new school attendance figures, Natalie Perera, Chief Executive of the Education Policy Institute (EPI) said:   

“These stark school attendance figures show the huge disparities in the amount of face-to-face learning pupils have received across the country.  

“The fact that attendance within the same week ranges by as much as 37% to 95% across England shows the monumental challenge facing the government in addressing differential learning loss. We’ve seen policies aimed at all pupils across-the-board to help them catch up with their learning this year, but so far the government has not dealt with the fact that some pupils will have lost much more learning than others.  

“Policymakers face a big task in addressing these growing learning gaps. While measures have been put in place to help all pupils with their exams next summer, there is still the fundamental question of how to support those who are at more of a disadvantage than others after having been out of the classroom for very long periods.

“In the immediate term, because they have been hit hardest by the disruption to education, it is clear that we need to see additional resources targeted at the most disadvantaged pupils. The government’s pupil catch-up premium is badly targeted, as it allocates the same level of funding to all pupils, regardless of their circumstances. Instead, we need to see more of this support directed at the very poorest pupils.”