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Fulston Manor pupils in Sittingbourne told to stay at home due to Covid staff shortages

Children are being asked to stay away from a Kent secondary school due to a lack of available staff.

Year 9 pupils and sixth-formers in Year 12 at Fulston Manor, Sittingbourne, will be remote learning today as 22% of the teaching staff – one in five – are absent due to Covid.

Fulston Manor School, Sittingbourne. Picture: John Nurden
Fulston Manor School, Sittingbourne. Picture: John Nurden

In a letter sent to parents, head teacher Susie Burden explained the staff absences meant the academy was not able to have all year groups in school, as they could not safely staff classes.

Fulston Manor is also not able to provide a full catering service.

Mrs Burden said: "Unfortunately 22% of teaching staff are currently unavailable for duty, the majority of this is related to Covid and we also have absences across all support teams.

"This impacts on both the running of classes and the school generally.

"Staff have been working extremely hard to cover for absent colleagues however we have reached a point at which we cannot run some classes due to lack of available staff and so have taken the difficult decision to ask two year groups to work from home completing remote learning.

Head teacher Mrs Burden
Head teacher Mrs Burden

"We are hopeful that staff will be able to end isolation over the start of the next week but will continue to monitor the situation.

"We are very grateful to parents and guardians for their support at this time.”

Students have been asked to submit their work online and should access their normal timetabled lessons.

In the letter sent to parents, Mrs Burden also emphasised the importance of face masks, saying: "We have increasing cases in both staff and students and so I would strongly advise those in school to wear a face covering, both in communal areas and classrooms.

"Can we also remind you to test students very regularly over the course of the next week.

"We are hopeful that we will see some staff return early next week, but this is unpredictable as many are not testing negative until later in the isolation window."

The school is to inform parents on whether the situation will remain the same next week later on today.

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