Nearly 600,000 high school students were forced to self-isolate at home for reasons related to Covid last week.
Alarming figures from the Ministry of Education show that almost a fifth of children were on leave on October 22.
But the majority of those sent home had not contracted Covid and had simply had potential contact with an infected person.
Only a tiny number, around 10,000, has actually tested positive, according to the figures.
Nearly 600,000 high school students were forced to self-isolate at home for reasons related to Covid last week. Pictured: file photo
Parents’ group Us For Them said public schools have struggled to follow DfE advice, which has left many children needlessly out of school.
Co-Founder Molly Kingsley said: “We know some schools make sense, but we also know that others are sending entire bubbles or annual groups home.
THE JOB CRISIS AFFECTS THE MOST DIFFICULT YOUNG PEOPLE
Youth unemployment is expected to hit its highest level in four decades after the holiday program ended this weekend, a report warned.
Analysis by the Resolution Foundation reveals that young people and those from ethnic minorities are the most affected by the jobs crisis.
He found that one in five young people aged 18 to 24 who had been put on leave have since been put out of work – the worst youth jobs crisis since the early 1980s.
A similar proportion of people belonging to ethnic minorities lost their jobs after benefiting from the government’s leave program.
The report estimates that the overall unemployment rate fell from 4.5 percent over the summer to 7 percent last month.
But he said the unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds had nearly doubled since the crisis began to 20 percent.
Kathleen Henehan, of the Resolution Foundation, said: “Worryingly, less than half of those who lost their jobs during the pandemic have been able to find work since.
“It means we have healthy children who have already missed many schools and are being sent home.
“I think it just shows that the rules themselves need to be urgently reviewed. We should move to a system where only sick children are sent home.
“The Nordic countries are leading the way in this regard.
Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield also spoke of the “chaos” in some schools.
She said last week: ‘Some are sending whole year groups home for two weeks because only one student tests positive for Covid, which is actually against government guidelines and should stop. “
The figures, which exclude mid-term schools, also show that secondary schools continue to be disrupted to a much greater extent than primary schools.
This will put additional pressure on the government’s plans to advance exams next summer.
More than 55% of secondary schools had at least one child who was isolating themselves at home, compared to 20% in primary schools.
Between 16 and 18% of schools had to send 30 or more children home.
Overall, school attendance fell from 89% a week earlier to 86% on October 22.
The numbers sparked further criticism of Gavin Williamson from teacher unions.
Dr Mary Bousted, joint secretary general of the National Education Union, called the figures “shocking” and accused the education secretary of having his head in the sand.
She said: “The challenge doesn’t go away, so Gavin Williamson must take action to expand school space, increase enrollment and help us maintain social distancing.
“Instead, he looks like an ostrich, producing increasingly bizarre responses to attendance statistics that insist black is white and all is well. This is clearly not true.
Geoff Barton, Secretary General of the Association of School and College Leaders, added: “This analysis paints a grim picture of the increasingly difficult situation schools are facing with declining attendance in the face of rising costs. Covid infection rate. “
Separate figures for October 15 showed the North West and Yorkshire and Humber to be the least frequented areas in their secondary schools, at 81%.
The Southwest had the highest rate at 90%.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Education said: “As might be expected, some students are self-isolating according to public health advice, but the average size of these groups is relatively small compared to the number. total students enrolled.
Alarming figures from the Ministry of Education show that nearly a fifth of children were on leave on October 22.