Around two thirds of state secondary schools in England have pupils self-isolating at home, new government figures show.

On November 12, a total of 64 per cent of state secondaries said they had at least one pupil at home due to potential contact with a Covid-19 case at school. In primaries, this figure was 22 per cent.

Pupil attendance in secondary schools has also dropped: from 87 per cent on November 5 to 83 per cent on November 12.

Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of school leaders' union the NAHT, said: “The government is quite correct to put a high priority on preserving young peoples’ education.”

However, he added: "The drop we have seen in attendance in secondary schools this week in particular is a real cause for concern.

“We remain very concerned about the spread of the virus, particularly amongst older pupils and in secondary schools.”

A DfE spokesperson said: “Over 99 per cent of schools have been open every week since term began and millions of pupils are continuing to benefit from being in school.

“The Chief Medical Officer remains of the view that schools should remain open, and has highlighted the damage caused by not being in education to children’s learning, development and mental health.”