More than 1,000 school coronavirus clusters this term, says SAGE

More than a thousand clusters and outbreaks of coronavirus have taken place in educational settings since schools reopened in September, documents suggest.

Children aged 12-16 played a “significantly higher role” in introducing infection into households in the period after schools reopened their doors to all students, Government scientists have said.

The document, released by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said there is no direct evidence that transmission within schools plays a “significant contributory role” in driving increased rates of infection among children.

But it adds “neither is there direct evidence to suggest otherwise”.

Public Health England (PHE) indicates that there have been more than a thousand instances where there have been two or more positive cases of Covid-19 in educational settings since schools reopened, it says.

The document, dated November 4 and published on Friday, suggests that secondary school pupils played a higher role in introducing infection into households as the prevalence of infection in children aged 12-16 increased between September and October.

But the difference is less marked for younger children, the document says.

It comes as schools, colleges, nurseries and universities remain open during England’s month-long lockdown – which began on November 5.

Education unions attended a Department for Education (DfE) meeting, alongside PHE representatives, on Thursday to discuss data on transmission in schools.