Hundreds of Oldham schoolchildren miss lessons as figures show one of the lowest attendance rates in the country.

Date published: 17 December 2020

Essential teaching time is being lost across Oldham, with attendance rates at just 71% for high schools.

The figures for the last three months show that Oldham secondary schools on average are less than three-quarters full.  The data for primary schools shows an average attendance rate of 85%.

Oldham council say high levels of Covid infections have affected attendance in the Autumn term.

A council spokesman said: "Department for Education data shows that the proportions of staff and pupils who have had to isolate in Oldham have regularly been among the highest in Greater Manchester and nationally.

“Our schools and academies have worked closely with Public Health and Education officers to minimise the numbers of staff and pupils who need to isolate by rigorously identifying close contacts of any positive cases. This has sustained attendance under very challenging circumstances."  

The community infection rate peaked at around 750 per 100,000 this term, amongst the highest in the country. During this period, the authority recorded over 1600 positive cases in school pupils and staff.

“We welcome the latest figures which show a reduction in community infection rates and improved attendance figures. It is not possible to predict what will happen in the new year following greater mixing during the school holidays.”  

Today, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the Government should take full account of how much time kids here have spent at home during this term suggesting that assessment should be "a large part of what is done"

He also confirmed that he was in talks with the Government to introduce mass tasting for schools, which is currently being rolled out across London.

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