Number of kids off school due to Covid soars to highest since September

THE number of pupils off school in England because of Covid has soared to its highest since September.

Some 315,000 children — one in 25 — are absent already this term.

The number of pupils in England off sick because of Covid is at the highest number since September

The number of pupils in England off sick because of Covid is at the highest number since SeptemberCredit: Alamy

And 44,000 staff — more than one in 12 are off. It is more than in the run-up to Christmas and is having a “significant impact”, say unions.

Some schools have had to create classes of 100-plus children taught in sports halls.

The crisis is fuelling calls for Covid self- isolation periods to be slashed from seven to five days, with a decision likely this week.

A total of 585 former teachers are returning in supply roles.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “I can’t sing the praises of all staff highly enough.

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