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Schools’ staffing concerns as Covid looks set to surge across south Norfolk



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Schools across Norfolk have voiced their concerns over staffing levels amidst a surge in Covid cases – but assured parents they will do all they can to keep classrooms open.

A virtual meeting this week – organised by headteacher’s association Educate Norfolk, and attended by more than 200 headteachers and education professionals across the county – heard the main challenge will be whether there are adequate staffing levels to assure student safety, as increasing numbers of teachers and support staff either become unwell or are required to isolate.

Chris Snudden, director of learning and inclusion at Norfolk County Council, said: “We completely understand how difficult disruptions are for children and their families when their school, year group, or class closes for any length of time.

Rob Connelly, headteacher of Archbishop Sancroft High School, which has welcomed back pupils this week following the Christmas break. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.
Rob Connelly, headteacher of Archbishop Sancroft High School, which has welcomed back pupils this week following the Christmas break. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography.

“Parents should expect there may be changes to the normal routine in the next few weeks, whether that is different adults teaching their children, slightly different lessons, or a short period of time learning from home.”

Rob Connelly, headteacher at Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston, warned that staffing levels had already become strained as the school tried to meet Covid safety requirements.

“Looking forward, this half-term is likely to present challenges that will require adaptation and flexibility,” he said.

“On-site testing has again placed a significant strain on staff and operational matters and again we have had to recruit and train alumni students and other members of the local community to support in this whole-school process.

“However, we have witnessed over the past two years, the response and support from children, staff and the wider community, showing resilience, flexibility and an overwhelming commitment, which provides me with hope and optimism for what lies ahead.”



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