Devonshire Primary Academy closes pre-school as staff numbers hit hard by Covid-19

Another Blackpool pre-school has been forced to close due as staff numbers have been hit hard by Covid-19.

By Wes Holmes
Monday, 17th January 2022, 12:47 pm

Devonshire Primary Academy on Devonshire Road, closed its pre-school last week just one week after it reopened following the holidays.

In a newsletter sent to parents and guardians, head teacher Daniel Simm said: "Unfortunately, this week we have had to close our pre-school. This very difficult decision was taken due to a number of pre-school staff testing positive for Covid-19. "

The pre-school is expected to reopen on Wednesday, January 19, with lessons continuing online until then.

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Devonshire Primary Academy

Mr Simm said: "The school is under an increasing amount of pressure with regard to staffing and continues to be so. Please be assured that we will always do our very best to remain open to all of our pupils and to continue to provide the very best education that we can. This week we have resumed our 'Wake Up and Shake Up' sessions in the hall prior to school. We have done so in a safe way and we have had to reduce the number of children and groups involved."

The pre-school is the second in Blackpool to be placed in lockdown due to increasing staff absences due to Covid-19.

Revoe Learning Academy's pre-school closed on January 10 after a lack of teachers led to nursery staff being redeployed to cover classes in other parts of the school. Some 16 members of staff were absent on Monday, January 10, with 15 being Covid-related.

Head teacher Dayle Harrison said: “We had to prioritize to ensure safe provision. We made the decision to deploy staff that are healthy and fit for work to enable us to stay open for statutory age children.”

Recent data published by the Department for Education has revealed that 8.6 per cent of teachers and school leaders were absent during the first week of the 2022 term, and 4.9 per cent were absent because of Covid-19.

This marked a three per cent increase since December.

Meanwhile, 315,000 (3.9 per cent) pupils were absent for Covid-related reasons, up 14,000 on the end of last term.

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