1 in 14 pupils at English secondary schools have Covid, ONS data shows

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One in 14 secondary school-age children had Covid last week, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

The substantial increase – up from an estimated one in 20 pupils the previous week – suggests that the spread of Covid through secondary schools is far outpacing the government’s vaccination programme. It follows criticism this week from headteachers and parents about a “haphazard” vaccine rollout that is continuing to disrupt education.

The ONS survey, based on swabs collected from randomly selected households, showed an overall increase in Covid infections in England from one in 85 people to one in 70 in the week ending 2 October. The trend was driven by an apparently huge rise in infections in secondary-age children, with most age ranges showing steady or decreasing rates of positive tests.

Covid cases fell in recent weeks in Scotland and Northern Ireland with an “uncertain” trend in Wales, the ONS survey found.


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