Covid: Waveney secondary schools 'prepared' if staff shortages hit

heidi philpott and michael taylor

Heidi Philpott, Head of SET Beccles School (left) and Michael Taylor, Head of Sir John Leman High School (right). - Credit: Seckford Education Trust/Nick Butcher

Two Beccles headteachers have said they are prepared if staff shortages hit due to the rise in omicron cases.

Schools across the area have now reopened following the Christmas holidays, with students taking part in on site testing before starting the term.

The government has also announced that face masks are now mandatory in all secondary school settings.

With omicron cases on the rise, schools across Waveney are preparing for potential staff shortages into this new school term.

michael taylor sir john leman high school

Michael Taylor, Head of Sir John Leman High School. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Michael Taylor, Head of Sir John Leman High School, said: "Before Christmas we had some difficulty in terms of staff shortages but at the moment we only have one or two off with Covid.

"I think the time off being reduced to seven days if someone presents two negative lateral flow tests will definitely help us in terms of staff numbers.

"However, if for example, 25pc of our staff were off at any given time that would mean up to 20 members of staff off at the school.

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"We like to hope we will not return to online learning at any point. What might be more realistic is sending year groups of students home.

"There are still concerns about how students will sit exams this year and after almost two years of disruption to learning now students need some sort of return to normality."

set beccles school heidi phillpot

Head of SET Beccles School, Heidi Philpott. - Credit: Seckford Education Trust

Heidi Philpott, Head of SET Beccles School, said: “As we go into the new term, staff and students are keen to get back to school and back to learning in a safe environment.

“Prior to term starting this week, we are offering mass Covid testing in school for all students.

"Any student who tests positive will need to isolate in line with government guidance and they will be able to access learning resources and teacher support remotely.

“We are also asking students and staff to wear masks in all indoor spaces, including classrooms, to further reduce the spread of Covid.

“We are confident about the start of the new term and we have plans in place in the event of staff or student absence, to ensure we provide a consistent learning environment for everyone.”