Covid-19 - Will the country’s 10m school children ever forgive us?

384,600 children were prevented from attending English schools for Covid reasons in week ending 24 June

© Facts4EU.Org 2021

Even those children who were attending could not enjoy school normally

Some of the consequences of the State’s response to Covid-19 are only now starting to be openly discussed in the mainstream media on a regular basis. One of these is the impact of Covid measures on our children.

Yesterday the Prime Minister announced that many Covid measures might possibly be removed on 19 July, subject to another review next week. On one subject, however, he did not announce the proposed changes.

When it came to education and our schools, the PM stated that whilst bubbles might be dropped, other measures will still be required. He said the Education Secretary will make an announcement today.

In today’s report and ahead of Gavin Williamson’s statement, Facts4EU.Org reveals the official figures for just one aspect of this catastrophe for our young people. Using the latest official figures for England for the week ending 24 June, we demonstrate the continuing effects of the ‘bubble’ strategy that has been used to prevent perfectly healthy school children from attending the last weeks of school before the long summer holidays.

Only 0.18% of all English school children had even tested Covid-positive that week.

We also provide much needed reassurance to parents about the infinitesimally small threat posed by Covid to children.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

School non-attendance in England due to Covid
week ending 24 June 2021

NOTE: As the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland report their Covid figures separately, and as the Department for Education does not aggregate these, Facts4EU.Org is reporting figures for England only. (We cannot do the aggregation as it involves much more work and we lack the funding.)
For information, there are almost 10 million school children in the UK state sector and England accounts for 84% of the total.

  • Total state school children not attending for all Covid reasons : 384,600
  • Total state school children with confirmed positive test for Covid : 14,900
  • Percentage of all state school children testing positive : 0.18%
  • Number of children not attending school due to Covid measures, but without having Covid : 369,700

© Brexit Facts4EU.Org - click to enlarge

  • Total state school children in England: 8.3m (8,309,700)
  • Percentage of school children suffering from all Covid measures: 100%

[Source: UK Government education statistics 29 June 2021.]

Schools and their ‘bubbles’

In the week ending 24 June 2021, for every schoolchild who tested positive for Covid-19 a further 25 times as many children were off school for other Covid reasons.

The majority of these were because they were sent home if one of their classmates tested positive. This is a direct result of the ‘bubble’ method approved by the Government and used by schools.

Of the 369,700 children not attending school but who had not tested positive for Covid, the reasons included: contact in school; contact outside school; suspected ‘cases’; and where the school was closed due to Covid.

The Covid threat to children’s health

The Office for National Statistics produces a wide range of datasets on Covid for England and Wales. Included within these is the number of children who have very sadly died, and who have also tested positive for Covid-19. The ONS does not produce statistics for children who died of Covid-19 as the underlying cause of death, so we are unable to provide this information.

We can say that nine children under 15 years old have died in England and Wales this academic year, who had also tested positive for Covid-19. There is no information about whether these children already had underlying health conditions which has been the case for the majority of adult deaths, where Covid-19 was mentioned or where a positive test result in the previous 28 days had been recorded. Neither is there any data showing that Covid-19 was the underlying cause of death for the nine children involved.

Nevertheless, if we use these raw figures, then we can say that :

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

Child deaths in England and Wales this academic year

  • Nine children under 15 years old have died this academic year, who had either tested positive for Covid-19 or who might have been Covid-19 positive
  • This represents less than 0.00009% of all school children
  • We do not know the underlying cause of death of the nine children
  • For context, a total of around 3,200 children under 15 years old die each year of all causes

Teachers’ unions remain unrelenting in opposition to any return to normality for children

The reaction from teachers’ unions to any suggestion that bubbles might be lifted, just as school children start their summer holiday and don't need them anyway, was swift and uncompromising.

The joint general secretary of the National Education Union, Dr Mary Bousted, accused the PM of “neglectful and reckless decision-making”, said that face masks should be used, and that she “seriously questions the wisdom of the decision to take away so many safety measures”.

The National Association of Headteachers said the Government must explain why bubbles will no longer be required “despite the soaring infection rates in schools”.

Observations

The health of any child is precious, in particular to its parents, and the thought of losing a child is absolutely devastating.

The simple fact, however, is that very sadly around 3,200 children under 15 die each year from a whole variety of causes. That's around nine per day. Covid is so far down the list of these causes as to be completely insignificant.

We may wish to put our children into a protective bubble but we have always accepted that to do so completely would not be in the best interests of the child – or society as a whole. Children require many things during their development, not the least of which being education and its concomitant socialisation process provided by the school environment.

Covid and the cost-benefit analysis

For over a year the Government has promised a proper cost-benefit analysis of the lockdowns and other State-imposed Covid measures. This has never materialised. It is almost as if the Covid measures are not thought to have any consequences.

It is only over the years to come that the full impacts of the State’s Covid measures will begin to become apparent. One obvious example will be the large increase in deaths from cancer and other diseases where early intervention would have prevented or delayed these. The evidence from professional bodies is now clear that timely referrals to specialists have reduced dramatically during Covid.

Will the long-term impact on our children ever be known?

When it comes to education and our school children, we fear that some of the effects of disproportionate Covid measures will last for decades. This will not only be seen in educational standards but also in the less tangible but very important personal development of children of all ages. It remains to be seen whether most children will ‘catch up’ or ‘bounce back’, but we suspect that a proportion may not.

Unlike with deaths from cancer, the effects on our school children in the coming years will be very difficult to quantify. We can only hope that if Facts4EU.Org isn’t around then, there will be other organisations analysing and reporting on these effects as one of the ‘costs of Covid’. The BBC is very unlikely to do this, after all.

In our view Covid measures in the school system should be removed with immediate effect, and most should never have been applied in the first place.

Oh, and the hapless Gavin Williamson needs to replaced as Secretary of State for Education at the Prime Minister’s earliest convenience.

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[ Sources: Dept for Education | Office for National Statistics ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Tues 06 Jul 2021

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