Reception pupils at Bristol school asked to stay home due to staff shortage

A school in Bristol has had to ask all of its reception pupils to stay at home following a rise in staff absences.

Oasis Academy Connaught in Knowle West closed both of its reception classes yesterday (January 19) due to staff shortages.

The pupils were asked to stay at home until at least Monday (January 24), with the intention of opening then unless “staff are too poorly to deliver”, according to a post on the school’s Facebook page.

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And a comment from the school’s official page on Facebook says: “We have tried to get supply staff from all agencies but there are none available.”

A spokesperson for the school declined to comment on whether the staff absences are due to Covid-19.

On January 12 the schools minister told Parliament that there had been “challenging levels of staff absence” in England’s schools this year due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

While on January 7 a survey found that more than a third of schools in England were experiencing staff absence levels of over 10 per cent due to COVID-related reasons, Sky News reported.

The school’s spokesperson also declined to answer how many staff are off sick at the school, and whether it is usual for the school to ask children to stay at home.

All other year groups are still able to go into Oasis Academy Connaught, and the reception students were given home learning resources.

A spokesperson said: “In response to a small rise in staff absence within our academy community we have had to take the difficult decision to close to pupils in our reception classes for the remainder of this week.

“Online learning has been provided to these pupils. The academy remains open to all other year groups and pupils should attend as normal and will be in all timetabled lessons as normal.

“This decision prioritised the safety and well-being of our pupils and staff. We will keep parents regularly updated during this period and look forward to being fully open again shortly.”

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