The number of state schools not fully open in England has risen for the third week in a row, according to new government figures.
Some 9 per cent were not able to provide face-to-face teaching for all pupils over the school day or had a group self-isolating last Thursday – when the lastest available data is from.
It marked the third slight increase in a row, after approximately eight per cent of state schools were not fully open on 1 October, seven per cent on 24 September, and six per cent on 17 September.
The number of fully open secondary schools – which stood at 79 per cent last Thursday – has also fallen over the past few weeks, according to the government figures.
Geoff Barton from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said this reflected the “extremely difficult circumstances in which schools are continuing to operate amidst rising Covid infection rates”.
He added: “The pressure is immense and we are increasingly concerned about the mental health and wellbeing of school leaders and their staff.”
One headteacher in Yorkshire told The Independent last week that school life during coronavirus – with Covid-19 safety measures and extra demands on staff – was “relentless”.
The DfE said that despite the drop in fully open state secondary schools, which went from 82 to 79 per cent in a week, attendance had increased overall.
Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, said: “It is encouraging to see the vast majority of schools are open, as has been the case since the start of term, and more than 7.4 million pupils are attending.”
“Attendance in fully open primary schools is now consistent with what we would have expected before coronavirus.”
He added: “Across all state schools, only a small minority of pupils are self-isolating and schools are providing remote education, in line with what pupils would be receiving in school.”
All students were allowed back to school in September for the first time since March, when schools shut to most pupils due to the coronavirus pandemic.