A survey shows that Tate school teachers are almost twice as likely than private school colleagues to report high staff absenteeism due to COVID-19.
Staff absenteeism is more pronounced in the most disadvantaged state schools across England, according to the Sutton Trust report.
The survey found that nearly a quarter of teachers said they have created material to support distance learning amid the disruption in the past week.
Many children who need to learn at home because they are isolated still struggle to access laptops or tablets to learn, the report suggests.
The social mobility charity is calling on the government to urgently ensure that all students have access to a tool for distance learning – and that schools have enough money to pay cover for absent staff.
A survey of nearly 7,000 teachers in schools across England shows that state school teachers are more likely to report that at least 10% of their peers are currently due to COVID-19 (20% vs 12%) were closed.
Teachers in the most disadvantaged state schools were nearly three times more likely than teachers in private schools to report that one in 10 or more of their peers was absent due to COVID-19 (29% versus 12%).
The survey found that 8% of all teachers said that more than one class was being taught simultaneously due to lack of staff, and 8% said that lack of access to lateral flow or PCR tests resulted in staff coming in. were unable to.
Sir Peter Lampel, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: “While most children are now back in school, disruption to schools affected by the absence of staff related to COVID continues.”
He added: “We must do everything possible to ensure that poor students do not suffer further as a result of this disruption.
“As more students turn to distance learning again, all students should have the resources they need to learn from home.
“The most important thing for the government is to strengthen the existing education recovery and ensure that sufficient funds are being made available to cover absentee workers.”
It is worrying that schools serving the most disadvantaged areas are reporting the most sick workers
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the school leaders union NAHT, said it was “unacceptable” that two years into the pandemic some children still do not have access to tools for distance learning.
He added: “It is worrying that schools serving the most disadvantaged areas are reporting the most staff sick.
“Children from more disadvantaged backgrounds have been hit hardest during the pandemic and need the most help now, so if there is any reason they are being disproportionately affected by staff absenteeism, it should be addressed urgently. is required.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said it is understandable that private schools have less disruption due to staff absenteeism “because they often have smaller class sizes and this can reduce the risk of transmission.” other students and staff”.
He added: “The Omicron boom means that many schools are dealing with very high level of staff absenteeism and this means that steps have to be taken that are clearly not ideal, such as support staff covering lessons and joint classes. We do.”
Beggars also believe that nearly two years after the first lockdown, there are still many schools, especially in disadvantaged areas, that do not have access to equipment to enable their students to study at home. Should be.
Mr Barton said: “It is very disappointing to see that staff are unable to come to school due to lack of access to COVID tests and it is essential that the government ensure that an adequate supply of tests is available.
“It also beggars that almost two years after the first lockdown, there are still many schools, especially in disadvantaged areas, that do not have access to the equipment that their students need to study at home. should be able.”
Independent Schools Council (ISC) chief executive Julie Robinson said: “The pandemic has affected all schools and we extend support to those hardest hit.
“We want more funding for all state schools and more support for underperforming pupils, which is why we encourage the ongoing development of partnerships working between schools.”
A Department of Education spokesperson said: “We are supporting schools by encouraging former teachers to return to classes and expanding the COVID workforce funding to schools facing the greatest staffing and funding pressure.
“We have asked schools to create contingency plans to maximize attendance and minimize learning disruptions, should they have high rates of staff absenteeism, and flexible learning models to support the development of those plans. We are working with the region to share case studies of…”
TeacherTap surveyed 6,964 teachers in schools across England between 7 and 10 January.