High levels of attendance at Aberdeenshire schools since easing of lockdown

Attendance at schools across Aberdeenshire has been hailed as “really positive” following the return of pupils full time.

Monday, 31st May 2021, 6:00 am
Attendance at school has been high since pupils returned to classes after lockdown.

Director of Education and Children’s Services Laurence Findlay gave an update at last week’s Aberdeenahire Council Education and Children’s Services Committee.

Mr Findlay said attendance of pupils across the region in the week ending May 21 was 94.8 per cent, above the national average of 92.3 per cent.

He also revealed that pupils not in school for Covid reasons was 0.5 per cent and 4.7 per cent for other reasons. Pupils not at school due to parent refusal was just 0.05 per cent.

Mr Findlay added staff attendance “remains high”.

He said staff had been positive about the return with parents “equally happy” to see children back as home schooling had put a “significant pressure” on families.

Mr Findlay added that the uptake of lateral flow testing in staff and pupils was “very high” and said it “underlines everyone’s commitment to doing all we can individually and collectively to live with the virus and hopefully move beyond the pandemic”.

Mr Findlay told the committee he holds virtual meetings with headteachers every week to discuss any concerns they may have.

He noted that the biggest concern at the moment is around the alternative certification model that is in place for this year’s SQA assessments.

He has met Parent Council chairs to discuss the process and received “positve” feedback adding that this helped assure him that the local authority was doing all it can to meet requirements.

However Mr Findlay was quick to note that despite this assurance it did not take away the “stress and pressure” felt by students across the region.

He gave his thanks to everyone involved with the alternative certification model process in Aberdeenshire

Committee chair councillor Gillian Owen said it was “great” to see the schools back despite the mitigations in place due to the pandemic and thanked staff who had “worked hard to get us to this point”.

Councillor Louise Mcallister added that it was “absolutely wonderful” to have the schools back.

She noted there was negativity regarding the SQA assessments and how they are being handled this year, but added that pupils were doing “really, really well” and “coped marvellously well during an absolutely horrendous time for them all”.