We are aware of several questions that have been raised around a section of the analysis of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey published on 6 November 2020, “Analysis of the number of school workers, key workers and other professions in England who had COVID-19”. In line with our commitment to transparency, we would like to fully set out the details of this.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey includes a sample of over 150,000 individuals per fortnight, which produces results on a weekly basis. The occupation data is a free text field that requires further processing and is available around two weeks after initial headline results. At the time of publication, all available coded occupation data were used.

The ONS was clear at the time that based on this analysis, “there was no evidence of any difference” within our survey. This is not the same as saying that, “there is no difference”.

When looking at how the data were aggregated, different types of teachers experience different circumstances in the classroom, which could have an effect on their chance of being infected with COVID-19. As a result, we took the decision to publish data with more detail to give more information.

In response to questions around the aggregation of different occupations, we have reproduced this analysis with the teachers group combined. This also shows no clear evidence from our survey as to whether there is a difference in the level of individuals who would test positive for COVID-19 between teachers and other key workers.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection Survey continues to provide essential information on the level of COVID-19 in the UK and we are using the findings to give new insights each week.

We take seriously the need to provide more information on schools. In addition, we are carrying out a Schools Infection Survey that was launched in October. This survey samples around 100 secondary schools and includes testing of pupils and all staff in schools. The first round of testing has just been completed and we are analysing results.