JUST one in ten eligible secondary pupils are estimated to have attended school last Tuesday, new figures have revealed.

Essex County Council has released the Department of Education data which follows the easing of coronvirus restrictions with Year 10 and 12 pupils now encouraged to attend school.

Secondary schools and colleges have been limited to only a quarter of each year group attending per day as they prepare for exams.

Figures show that 70 per cent of secondary schools, special schools and pupil referral units opened to at least one of the year groups but only 31 per cent were open to both and ten per cent were only open for vulnerable students and the children of key workers.

Snapshot figures from Tuesday showed ten per cent attended - but the council believe the numbers may be between five and 15 per cent higher because a fifth of schools didn’t respond to a request for the data.

Primary schools are open for youngsters in reception and Years One and Six, and key workers’s children.

The data shows 36 per cent of pupils in the eligible years attended on Tuesday. That is an increase from a quarter the fortnight before.

Again, the council estimate numbers are higher because of some non-responses.

In total 34,326 pupils were confirmed as attending schools in Essex, up from approximately 4,400 across primary and secondary settings before half term and 20,000 on June 9.

The Government says all students should be going back to school in September.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Jean Quinn, from the North East Essex branch of the National Education Union, said they were working with headteachers to create risk assessments in an attempt to get students back to school.

“Most of the heads are being very receptive towards that,” she said.

“In primary schools, I would suggest one of the problems is space.

“Some primary schools simply don’t have the space for all three year groups and to have the distance required.

“Of course, there are still parents who are understandably reluctant to send their children in and thinking they will reassess in September.”

Mrs Quinn said the limit on year groups at secondary school would have a big impact along with public transport fears but that she expected numbers would increase.

“I know of a school where pupils are only coming in for practical subjects that simply cannot be taught online,” she said.

“Some of these sessions are like tutorials.

“It might be if you have to take public transport and the risks associated with that at the moment, then students and parents do not want to go in.”

A council spokesman said Government funding will be used to give schools access to subsidised tutoring sessions and free coaches for disadvantaged pupils throughout the next academic year to help them catch up.

They confirmed schools would not have to open during the summer break.