Coronavirus daily round-up: Wednesday 18 November

Fiona Simpson
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

School attendance figures have dropped to their lowest since late September despite the number of vulnerable children attending increasing, new Department for Education figures show.

Less children are now attending school, new DfE figures show. Picture: Adobe Stock
Less children are now attending school, new DfE figures show. Picture: Adobe Stock
  • Each day, CYP Now will summarise the key issues affecting the children and families sector as it tackles the effects of the pandemic. The daily update signposts children’s services practitioners and leaders to the latest developments, expert views, advice and resources.

School attendance figures drop

School attendance figures have dropped for the first time since September, the Department for Education has said.

Attendance in state schools steadily increased from 87 per cent in early September, to a period of stability of between 89 and 90 per cent from 1 October to 15 October.

After half-term attendance was at 89 per cent on 5 November but decreased to 86% on 12 November, latest figures show.

However, the number of vulnerable children attending school increased to 30,000 on 12 November compared with 26,000 last week.

Pandemic delays LGBT curriculum 

A delay in the implementation of a new LGBT curriculum sparked by the pandemic has led to fears over increased homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying, new research shows.

In its report on ‘Pathways to LGBT+ Inclusion’ educational charity Diversity Role Models found just 27 per cent of secondary school students reporting that their school would be safe for classmates to ‘come out’ as LGBT+.

Meanwhile, HBT language was reported as common at school by 42 per cent of year five and six primary school students and 54 per cent of secondary school students.

New guidance for childcare providers

The Department for Education has published updated guidance for nurseries, childminders and preschools on how to continue providing safe and affordable care while new national restrictions remain in force.

It confirms that: 

  • there is no change to the existing position for early years staff wearing face coverings. 

  • staff who are clinically vulnerable can continue to attend work, following the specific measures set out for the early years sector to minimise transmission. 

  • out of school activities can continue operating where they are providing registered childcare, or where they are offering other childcare activities that support parents to work, search for work, or undertake training or education. They can also continue for the purposes of respite care for vulnerable children.

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