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Headteacher at Wolverhampton school where children are self-isolating slams Government policy

By Jamie Brassington | Wolverhampton | Education | Published:

A headteacher at a Wolverhampton school where 180 pupils are self-isolating has criticised Government policy on sending children home.

Hayley Guest, headteacher at East Park Academy

Instead, Miss Hayley Guest, headteacher at East Park Academy, believes only children who have symptoms or test positive for Covid-19 should be told to self-isolate.

She believes the best education setting for her pupils - some of whom are from "disadvantaged" backgrounds who have a lack of learning resources at home - is in the classroom with teachers and their peers.

It comes after 90 pupils in Year 3 and 90 pupils in Year 6 at the school, on Hollington Road, were sent home this week after two students tested positive for coronavirus.

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Miss Guest told the Express & Star: "Sending year groups home of 90 children is not helpful.

"In some ways I would say it is encouraging the spread of coronavirus.

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"As a school, we feel strongly that self-isolation should take place for the affected child only."

She said that unlike schools, home settings are not "controlled environments" for students where they can venture outside and mix with the community.

Miss Guest says the school aims to have remote learning set up within 48 hours which is "particularly important for our school where we have high levels of disadvantaged children".

"But that is never a replacement for children being in classrooms and being with their teachers and peers," she said.

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Asked how challenging it has been to reopen the school amid the pandemic, she said: "It is probably the most difficult return to school that we have ever had to face as a profession."

She rued the lack of clear guidance from Public Health England, adding that the school received varying responses" to its two different cases of coronavirus this week.

"It is very hard to keep up," she said.

She said it was becoming "more and more difficult" to help and support parents because "the guidance is asking us to close bubbles which for us is 90 children even though classes are for 30 children".

"A lot of children are not receiving education here."

Jamie Brassington

By Jamie Brassington
Senior Multi-Media Journalist - @JamieB_Star

Senior reporter at the Express & Star. Contact me at jamie.brassington@expressandstar.co.uk.

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