Dear Mr Humpherson

Re: Reported breach of the Code of Practice by ONS in the Coronavirus Infection Study: 6th November

We have seen that Dr Sarah Rasmussen has reported a breach of the Code of Practice of Statistics to you on Saturday 21st November. We share her concerns about the ad hoc section, “Analysis of the number of school workers, key workers and other professions in England who had COVID-19”.

We hope that you will recommend that the Office for National Statistics releases an update to this flawed report that examines the data in the following way: by grouping the professions into Teacher, University lecturer, Education support staff, Other professions, and Other key worker; reports the rates as they change over time either in days, weeks or fortnights as with other data in the report up to the most recent period.

We are concerned that there are currently high rates of infection amongst teachers and the ad hoc analysis has created a false impression. We note that TeacherTapp, an app that surveys teachers, showed that the proportion of teachers self-isolating on 17th November was 7% and this was up from a fairly static 4% last half term.

The tweet is here:

We would also like to draw your attention to the fact that the Department for Education has not published any statistics on teacher attendance this term. The Department collects the data from schools weekly as part of their survey, “Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak”.
The publication is here:

Last term the Department published attendance by teachers and non-teaching staff on a weekly basis. On 21st October, Nick Gibb said, “We are currently looking at the quality of the teacher attendance data with a view to publishing as part of the official statistics series” in response to a question from Margaret Greenwood MP about teacher attendance. We would be grateful if you could investigate exactly what this quality issue is and why has become such an issue this term when it was not last.

Yours sincerely


Mary Bousted                                                                                Kevin Courtney

Joint General Secretary                                                                Joint General Secretary


Related Links

Ed Humpherson response to Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney: ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey ad hoc analysis