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CORONAVIRUS: Drop in pupil numbers during crisis

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WARWICKSHIRE County Council has recorded a fall in numbers of learners at its educational establishments as more and more of the county’s learners that are eligible for a place at a school setting are being kept at home.

Almost all schools, colleges and early years settings have remained open to take the children and young people designated as eligible learners. These include children of key or critical workers and children and young people classed as vulnerable.

Out of a total of 85,055 learners at the 247 state-funded schools, 1,445 (1.7%) were on site yesterday (Weds), many of them children of critical workers. Out of the children at the 161 open schools, attendance was reduced from 2.7% on Tuesday to 2.06% on Wednesday.

Cllr Colin Hayfield, portfolio holder for education and learning said: “This is a fantastic response in Warwickshire which the Regional Schools Commissioner has commented on favourably. I would like to thank parents and carers for their responsible approach in keeping their children at home wherever they have been able to. Government has stressed repeatedly that it is essential that this happens.

“But while our goal is to have as few children leave the home as possible, we know that this cannot always be done.

“The County Council has been working incredibly hard behind the scenes to, in a matter of a few days, ensure that there was a place at a school setting for these young people. To have arranged all of that, plus transport and food, as well as arranging meals for children not attending school who are entitled to free school meals, has been staggering.

“And it must be noted that arrangements are in place to track some of our most vulnerable young people who are not attending an educational setting to make sure they are safe as possible.

“Everyone has pulled out all the stops. I would like to pass on our gratitude to the schools, colleges and early years settings and their staff who have been on site supervising.

“This huge effort will play a huge role in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus. It will allow our critical workers to carry out their essential roles. And it will greatly reduce the social contact in our communities at a time when social distancing has been identified as integral to the fight against the spread of the virus.”

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