Pupils' absences

Owen Sheppard made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was refused by Department for Education.

Dear Department for Education,

How many suspected Covid-19 related pupil absences were there from primary and secondary schools located in the following areas during the month of September 2020:

Hammersmith constituency
Kensington constituency
Chelsea and Fulham constituency
Cities of London and Westminster constituency
Westminster North constituency

If the DfE is unable to provide figures per constituency, could I please receive figures per local authority area instead? I.e. for schools located in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and City of Westminster.

Please provide figures for absences from local authority-maintained schools, as well as community schools, faith schools and school that receive direct funding from the DfE, such as free schools and academies.

Yours faithfully,

Owen Sheppard

MINISTERS, Department for Education

1 Attachment

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. If you are
contacting us about coronavirus (COVID-19) you can find advice and
guidance on [1]GOV.UK. This includes [2]guidance for educational settings
in England. You can also contact our coronavirus helpline on 0800 046
8687. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and weekends 10am to
4pm.

For emails and other written enquiries you will usually receive a reply
within 15 working days. You can find out how the department processes your
personal information by reading our [3]Privacy Notice.

 

 

[4]cid:image001.jpg@01D42E43.58989C30

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...
https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

 

Dear Mr Sheppard 

 

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your
correspondence has been allocated reference number 2020-0056510.

 

Department for Education

Ministerial and Public Communications Division

Tel: 0370 000 2288

Web: 

[1]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [2]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [3]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk
 

 

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.education.gov.uk/
2. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
3. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Owen Sheppard,     
      
Re: pupil absences due to COVID-19 in schools    
      
Thank you for your email received on 5th October, reference number:
2020-0056510. Your request was as follows:     
    
“Dear Department for Education,

How many suspected Covid-19 related pupil absences were there from primary
and secondary schools located in the following areas during the month of
September 2020:

Hammersmith constituency
Kensington constituency
Chelsea and Fulham constituency
Cities of London and Westminster constituency Westminster North
constituency

If the DfE is unable to provide figures per constituency, could I please
receive figures per local authority area instead? I.e. for schools located
in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Royal Borough of
Kensington and Chelsea, and City of Westminster.

Please provide figures for absences from local authority-maintained
schools, as well as community schools, faith schools and school that
receive direct funding from the DfE, such as free schools and academies.

Yours faithfully,

Owen Sheppard”    
   
I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(“the act”).     

The department does not hold the information for September. Note that from
12 October the Education Settings Status form has been updated to collect
more comprehensive data on pupils being asked to self-isolate, or with
confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. This data has been published as
part of an official statistics, which can be found
here: [1]https://explore-education-statistics.ser...

Please note that Public Health England (PHE) leads in holding data on
infection, incidence and COVID-19 cases overall. PHE already publishes
data on COVID-19 incidents by institution, including educational settings,
which can be found
here [2]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
     
The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright.
You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study
and non-commercial research, and for any other purpose authorised by an
exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can be
also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news
reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would
require the permission of the copyright holder.      
      
Most documents produced by a government department or agency will be
protected by Crown Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be
re-used under the Open Government Licence
([3]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...). For
information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information
please see The National Archives website
-http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
.      
      
Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information
about obtaining permission from a third party see the Intellectual
Property Office’s website at [4]www.ipo.gov.uk.     
       
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.     
    
If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an
independent review panel, which were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.       
      
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s
Office     
      
Yours sincerely,     
 
Marvin Rose
Senior Executive Officer
COVID Attendance Statistics
Data Insights and Statistics Division
Data Directorate, Operations Group
Department for Education
[5][email address] | [6]www.education.gov.uk
 

References

Visible links
1. https://explore-education-statistics.ser...
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
3. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
4. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
5. mailto:[email address]
6. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Dear Department for Education,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of the Department for Education's handling of my FOI request 'Pupils' absences'.

In your response you say that the department does not hold this information for September.

However, on October 12, a response was given to a Parliamentary Question by Sir David Evennett which contradicts this.

Here is a link to the PQ: https://questions-statements.parliament....

Nick Gibbs wrote: "The Department is currently collecting data from schools on a daily basis, as well as gathering information from local areas and following up with individual settings to confirm that procedures for requiring pupils to isolate are well understood and that necessary decisions are made on the basis of public health advice.

"The Department collects data on the number of schools that have indicated that they have either sent children home due to COVID-19 containment measures, or have staff shortages due to COVID-19 related absences. The Department is currently looking at the quality of that data with a view to publishing it as part of the official statistics series."

This suggests the Department does hold data for September on school absences related to Covid.

Furthermore, under the Freedom of Information Act, a public body is required to provide guidance to the requester on how to go about obtaining the info they are looking for.

The link you provided to the data available on the department's website does not provide a local breakdown by council area or constituency.

Therefore, could the DfE please be as helpful as it can in providing what data it does have regarding the number of Covid related school absences in the geographical areas referred to in my original request.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

Yours faithfully,

Owen Sheppard

MINISTERS, Department for Education

1 Attachment

Thank you for contacting the Department for Education. If you are
contacting us about coronavirus (COVID-19) you can find advice and
guidance on [1]GOV.UK. This includes [2]guidance for educational settings
in England. You can also contact our coronavirus helpline on 0800 046
8687. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and weekends 10am to
4pm.

For emails and other written enquiries you will usually receive a reply
within 15 working days. You can find out how the department processes your
personal information by reading our [3]Privacy Notice.

 

 

[4]cid:image001.jpg@01D42E43.58989C30

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...
https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Owen Sheppard,

I refer to your request for an internal review which was received on 4
November. Your request was as follows:
“Dear Department for Education,
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.
I am writing to request an internal review of the Department for
Education's handling of my FOI request 'Pupils' absences'.
In your response you say that the department does not hold this
information for September.
However, on October 12, a response was given to a Parliamentary Question
by Sir David Evennett which contradicts this.
Here is a link to the PQ:
https://questions-statements.parliament....
Nick Gibbs wrote: "The Department is currently collecting data from
schools on a daily basis, as well as gathering information from local
areas and following up with individual settings to confirm that procedures
for requiring pupils to isolate are well understood and that necessary
decisions are made on the basis of public health advice.
"The Department collects data on the number of schools that have indicated
that they have either sent children home due to COVID-19 containment
measures, or have staff shortages due to COVID-19 related absences. The
Department is currently looking at the quality of that data with a view to
publishing it as part of the official statistics series."
This suggests the Department does hold data for September on school
absences related to Covid
Furthermore, under the Freedom of Information Act, a public body is
required to provide guidance to the requester on how to go about obtaining
the info they are looking for.
The link you provided to the data available on the department's website
does not provide a local breakdown by council area or constituency.
Therefore, could the DfE please be as helpful as it can in providing what
data it does have regarding the number of Covid related school absences in
the geographical areas referred to in my original request.
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...
Yours faithfully,
Owen Sheppard” 

The department has now completed its internal review process and has
carried out a thorough review of the case, chaired by a senior official
who was not involved with the original request. The department has decided
to uphold the original response that the requested information does not
exist for the month of September.

The department did not collect total numbers for COVID-19 related pupil
absences until 12 October. Prior to this date, the department collected
information for the number of schools affected by COVID-19, whether this
was due to outbreaks amongst the pupil population, or staff shortages as
the result of COVID-19. However, no totals for COVID-19 related pupil
absences were collected at this time.

We’d also like to highlight that the date for the parliamentary question
you refer to was issued on 12 October, which coincides with the start date
for the new data collection.

Please note that we currently collect data on the open status of schools,
number of schools that have indicated they have sent children home due to
COVID-19 containment and the total number of pupils absent for COVID-19
related reasons on a daily basis. This data is published from this
collection at a national level as part of the official statistics series.
The publication can be found here:
https://explore-education-statistics.ser....
Data is published from 9 September 2020, but prior to 12 October 2020
information on pupils absences was not collected.

The department intends to publish this data at regional and local
authority level on 15 December. This data will be included as part of the
publication ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the
coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak’, which can be found at the link above.

If you are unhappy with this decision, you have the right to appeal
directly to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can
be contacted at:

           The Case Reception Unit
           Customer Service Team
Information Commissioner’s Office
           Wycliffe House
           Water Lane
           Wilmslow
           Cheshire
           SK9 5AF

Further information about the Information Commissioner’s complaints
procedure can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website:
[1]https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

Kind regards,
Marvin Rose
Senior Executive Officer
COVID Attendance Statistics
Data Insights and Statistics Division
Data Directorate, Operations Group
Department for Education
[2][email address] | [3]www.education.gov.uk
 

References

Visible links
1. https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.education.gov.uk/