Essex parents fear return to remote lessons amid school staff shortage

Schoolchildren wearing masks as they head into school.

Coronavirus among school staff has led to a shortage of teachers across the country, data from The Sutton Trust suggests (File photo) - Credit: PA

Parents in Essex fear that they would not be able to cope if remote learning is re-introduced.

Schools across the country have reported staff shortages since the beginning of spring term, prompting concerns that some classes will need to be taught online.

A Saffron Walden headteacher has said that the situation is being monitored daily.

On Facebook, parent Jess Dowling told us that while she has the resources to accommodate remote learning, she found the experience difficult when it was first introduced in March 2020.

Jess said: "We have all the equipment needed for online learning, but I don't think my mental wellbeing could cope again.

"Home-schooling was the most stressful experience."

Clive Edwards wrote: "Big no from this house."

Jason Williams, who has two teenagers, said that his children missed being in the classroom with friends.

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But he added: "My two teenagers loved online home learning.

"They got more work done at home than school, and could concentrate more."

The leader of Saffron Academy Trust and executive head at Saffron Walden County High School has said that teachers must "react to Covid-19 realities".

Saffron Walden County High School

Saffron Walden County High School has been "fortunate" not to have been hit by staff shortages, its executive headteacher has said. - Credit: Saffron Photo

Caroline Derbyshire said: "We have been reasonably fortunate in relation to the number of Covid cases so have not needed to resort to remote learning, but this is subject to daily monitoring.

"Any trends are now more difficult to read because PCR tests are not frequently deployed, so we react to the realities of the matter.

"We will continue to do our level best to deliver face-to-face learning to pupils.

"We know that this is best for everyone’s education and welfare."

In a recent national Teacher Tapp poll, 53% of teachers said that one in 20 of their school's staff was absent due to Covid-19.

For nearly 30% of state school teachers, one in 10 of their pupils doesn't have access to remote learning technology.

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