Shropshire schools attendance low as parents reluctant over return

Attendance figures show that parents in Shropshire have still been reluctant for their children to return to school – despite the best efforts of teaching staff across the county.

Schools across both the Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council areas have come up with detailed plans to get children back in to schools, with staggered drop-offs, cleaning regimes, bubbles and social distancing all part of the precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

Despite that, it appears that many parents have not yet decided to send their children back – although some year groups, particularly those transitioning to secondary school in year six, have had considerably stronger attendance figures than others.

In Shropshire overall attendance has been between 18 and 22 per cent.

In reception and year one, between 25 and 30 per cent of pupils have returned, but in year six it has been around 35 to 40 per cent.

For secondary schools, attendance is limited to 25 per cent of year 10 pupils at any one time, but the numbers are considerably higher than in primary schools, with between 60 to 80 per cent attending at many schools, according to Shropshire Council.

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In Telford & Wrekin, although attendance has been an average of around 20 per cent of possible pupils, there have been more than 50 per cent in year six, over 40 per cent in year one and reception, and around 20 per cent in year 10.

A spokesman for Shropshire Council said: "Overall attendance in Shropshire is fluctuating at around 18-22 per cent of total numbers.

"We have seen approximately 25-30 per cent of reception and Year 1 pupils return to school.

"As expected we have seen a larger proportion of Year 6 pupils return to school, with 35-40 per cent of these pupils returning. Numbers in primary schools have risen steadily and primary schools are seeing an increase in Year 6 pupils attending as pupils return for a final period of time in their primary schools before moving on to their secondary school.

"Attendance in Year 10 is limited by DfE guidelines which stipulate that a maximum of 25 per cent of Year 10 pupils should be in school at any one time.

"Secondary schools report a positive level of attendance with many stating that 60-80 per cent of the pupils were attending when invited back.

"In addition to the above, primary and secondary schools are also accommodating up to 3,500 key worker children and vulnerable learners."

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