One in five children regularly miss school, figures show


Over 20% of English Students Now Chronically Absent Post-Pandemic


New government data reveals alarming rates of chronic absenteeism among schoolchildren in England following disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department for Education figures show over 22% of students missed 10% or more school days in the last academic year. That equates to roughly 1.8 million children persistently absent – double the pre-pandemic rate.

Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza estimates 100,000 students are outright playing truant. But many others are kept home by parents or experience anxiety and other issues inhibiting attendance.

The problem is most severe among disadvantaged students on free meals and those with educational plans. But all categories saw chronic absenteeism spike after pandemic closures and disruptions.

Dame Rachel stresses the importance of getting anxious children back in classrooms. Evidence shows students who miss just the first week of term are 55% more likely to be persistently absent after that.

Labour has proposed free breakfast clubs and mental health resources to reengage students. But critics argue fines for parents of truants are counterproductive.

With post-pandemic attendance lagging, schools face significant challenges in reacclimating children to full-time in-person education. Supporting vulnerable students will be critical to overcoming pandemic setbacks.

Let me know if you want me to modify or expand on this draft blog post covering the increase in chronic student absenteeism in England.

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