Pupil attendance gap during Covid-19 could create ‘unforgivable legacy’
The Scottish Conservatives have warned an attendance gap between pupils from the most and least deprived areas during the Covid-19 pandemic could create an “unforgivable legacy”.
Analysis of official statistics suggests an average of 4.1 per cent of children from the poorest areas have not attended school for coronavirus-related reasons.
That compares with 2.1 per cent of pupils from the least deprived parts of the country who have been absent on average, according to the most recent seven days of data.
On school days between October 26 and November 3, the attendance rate for pupils from the most deprived areas was 87 per cent on average, compared with 95 per cent for children in the least deprived areas.
Scottish Conservative education spokesman Jamie Greene argued more needs to be done to support pupils who are missing school for coronavirus-related reasons.
Mr Greene said: “It’s extremely concerning that pupils from the poorest areas are more likely to be missing out on school than wealthier ones.”
Asked about the disparity after her coronavirus statement at Holyrood on Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “There will be a number of reasons why the differentials in attendance figures at schools are as they are.
“We look at that carefully, we look at attendance figures at schools on a daily basis and the Deputy First Minister in particular pays closes attention to them.
“Fundamentally, the most important thing is to take all of the necessary steps to support children to be at school and to support our schools to stay open for as long as possible through this pandemic.”