On Monday of this week there was a question and answer published on the subject of Pupils: Attendance. The question came from the Labour MP from Ilford North who is responsible as the Shadow Minister for Education – Schools and his name is Wes Streeting. It was a written question so it may have been submitted a few weeks earlier but the answer came from Nick Gibb who is the MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton. Nick is the Minister for State for Education. The question was
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether students who are absent from school because their school is partially closed due to a shortage of staff are recorded as being absent for covid-19 related reasons in his Department’s Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak statistical releases.
And the answer was equally clear although very disturbing.
All pupils, in all year groups, should be in school full time this year. If schools have concerns about accommodating pupils due to staff absence related to COVID-19, they should discuss this with their local regional schools commissioner team.
Whilst pupils will be recorded as absent in circumstances where there are staff shortages, they should not be recorded as absent for COVID-19 related reasons in the ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak’ statistical releases.
Now perhaps something is missing here and perhaps what he is saying is that the pupils should not be treated as though they have COVID. However if the staff are ill due to COVID as has happened in a number of cases that one of my friends is aware of, to ignore the reason as being COVID based would be very strange.