More secondary schools in England are sending pupils home because of coronavirus, latest weekly figures suggest.

A total of 21 per cent of secondary schools are now partially closed, up from 18 per cent the previous week and 8 per cent in mid-September, the BBC reports.

But attendance is up slightly, suggesting schools are sending fewer pupils home when cases are suspected or confirmed.

Figures were lower in primary, with seven per cent of schools having to send pupils home, up from 5 per cent previously.

The weekly figures from the DFE are based on responses from around 80 per cent of schools.

The figures come as the government announced this week that GCSE and A-level exams would go ahead next summer, albeit with a three week delay to make up for lost learning time.

Geoff Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers' union, said the continuing fall in the number of fully open secondary schools showed how difficult it was to operate amidst rising Covid infection rates.

"The pressure is immense," he said.