Almost 40% of pupils invited to attend reopened schools in Wales from June 29 did not go, Welsh Government figures reveal.
Only some three-quarters of Wales’ schools returned for three weeks but the Conwy, Pembrokeshire, and Powys education authorities extended the summer term by an extra week.
When it was announced that schools would reopen from 29 June, the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams said that the aim was to ensure that all children get the chance to “catch up” and prepare with their teachers before the summer holidays.
Due to social distancing measures, the numbers attending at any given time were limited.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Wales was the only UK nation where all pupils were given the opportunity to return during the summer term, to catch up with their teachers and classmates and prepare for September.
“However, we understand families’ concerns and were clear attendance was not compulsory.
“We have provided guidance for schools so all pupils can return safely in September.”
The Welsh Conservatives suggested low attendance could be down to confusion over which councils would keep schools open for a fourth week before the end of the term.
Plaid Cymru said the figures were “not surprising”, suggesting it was because parents and pupils “questioned the value” of returning for just a few days and were “fearful” of the virus.