EDUCATION leaders are concerned about the impact Covid-19 may have on schools – and few of them have faith in the Government’s track and trace system, a union representative has said.

“It is in no way unpredictable or surprising that the demand for Covid-19 tests would spike when schools reopened more widely this term. And yet the system is in chaos.”

These are the words of Clem Coady, National Association of Head Teachers North West secretary and headteacher at Stoneraise School in Durdar.

As a secretary at the headteacher’s union, Mr Coady has heard concerns from Cumbrian school leaders about the impact of coronavirus on schools as well as the provision available to protect staff and students. School leaders are disappointed that the Government did not established a specific testing in time for schools reopening.

Mr Coady said: “The government assured us that testing would be ready for schools reopening – it was one of their own key safety requirements to have in place to enable children and teachers to return. And yet the system is in chaos” he said.

“The government has failed schools and children.”

He praised the efforts of schools in adapting to the pandemic.

“It is unacceptable for this to happen when schools have put so much effort into getting their part of the plan right, and when pupils have had to endure so much uncertainty and disruption already.”

Workington Academy revealed on Wednesday that a Year 7 pupil had tested positive for coronavirus, the leadership team acted quickly to put a planned response into action.

Mr Coady said: “School leaders from the very beginning of the pandemic have complied with government guidance. Currently we are no different.” “Any school closure or partial closure is clear evidence that schools have built solid plans and can swiftly act to limit the spread of the virus, in-line with how the government want schools to approach this.”

Data from the headteacher’s union has found that only seven per cent of school leaders have confidence in the Government’s track and trace system in its current form and nine out of 10 schools have asked children to stay at home with suspected or confirmed cases..

“Nearly eight out of 10 schools have had staff absences to deal with as they follow the government’s guidance.”

Workington MP Mark Jenkinson said: "We've been able to get tests for the small number of people who were unable to access one locally. We haven't had a problem across Cumbria. The team in public health across councils and the NHS have been phenomenal in their delivery of tests and the way they've adapted."

Mr Jenkinson agreed with Mr Coady that schools have adapted during the pandemic: "I'm a father of four and the way schools have adapted has been fantastic."