More than 150 Walsall children off school due to Covid-19

More than 150 Walsall pupils are off school due to coronavirus, latest figures have revealed.

Walsall Council’s education portfolio holder, Councillor Chris Towe, said the general high case rates in the borough with more than 5,000 confirmed cases in the last seven days having an impact on schools.

At a meeting of the council’s education overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday he said 151 pupils were currently off, along with 37 members of staff across 22 education settings.

But it was also confirmed there had been no recent full school closures as a result with only some classes affected in a small way.

Councillor Towe said: “For Walsall generally, the current rate of infection is 2,152 per 100,000. 5,986 cases confirmed locally in the last seven days.

“It is quite significant in Walsall so you can see why we have a problem in schools.”

Sharon Kelly, the council’s director of access and inclusion, added: “Even at this challenging time, with the increased rates of Covid we have got no full closures which is an absolute testament to the work schools are doing and the staffing challenges they have in order to ensure they are still open.

“We have some partial class closures due to staffing but these are a small number affected and schools are working closely with parents.”

Overall rates of attendance was also presented to the committee with primary schools showing a 92.6 per cent rate – or 44,530 pupils being in school.

At secondary level, the figures showed 86.7 per cent – or 20,255 – are attending schools.

Pupil referral units have 58.9 per cent or 156 pupils in attendance while special schools are registering 86.5 per cent level of attendance or 1,037 children.

Councillor Towe said a number of projects were in place to support schools in a number of keys areas such as attendance and performance.

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