SCHOOL attendance figures in West Sussex are above the national average.

The number of children back in school in the county since the coronavirus lockdown began is five per cent higher than the average.

Nearly 22 per cent of all pupils in West Sussex – a total of 25,226 – were back at maintained schools and academies across the county on July 2, above the UK average of 16.9 per cent.

This follows the Government’s drive last month to reopen schools, which shut in March amid the Covid-19 crisis.

West Sussex County Council also said the numbers of vulnerable children in its schools have been consistently higher than the national average during the pandemic.

Nigel Jupp, cabinet member for education, said: “I’ve been impressed greatly by the dedication of parents and carers who continue to look after their children and provide home schooling during these challenging and unprecedented times.

“I would also like to share my sincere thanks with schoolteachers and staff who have been in class with many vulnerable children as well as those of key workers. On top of this they have continued to provide excellent resources for home learning to those children who have not been able to return to their schools during the lockdown.

“I appreciate the frustrations of those who are eager to return, but we all share the same aim of seeing all children back in school from September.”