Pandemic hits attendance at Polish schools in Britain

The Covid-19 pandemic has savaged attendance at Polish schools in Britain, pushing some of them to the verge of bankruptcy, the British-based Polish Educational Society (PMS) said on Tuesday.

According to PMS, which has supported Polish education in Britain for nearly 70 years, attendance at the Saturday-morning schools has fallen by between 25-50 percent during the pandemic.

PMS head Elzbieta Barras told PAP that some schools were threatened with closure owing to insufficient pupil numbers, and said that only 13,500 children were currently enrolled in Polish schools compared to around 22,000 before the pandemic.

"Today, after Covid-19... we are receiving signals that there has been a colossal drop in attendance," she said. "We're not talking about one, two, or even 10 children fewer, but more like 25 to 50 percent."

Barras also noted that falling enrolment has put some schools in a precarious financial situation because they have been deprived of the fees which constituted a large part of their income, while still having to pay running costs and teachers’ wages.

She added that the Polish government's support for the schools also depended on enrolment numbers.