Schools in the region concerned by impact of pandemic on pupils

You can watch Rob Setchell's piece on how schools are coping here


Schools across the region say they're struggling to cope with rising cases of coronavirus and are already worried about the potential impact on next year's exams.

They've only had one confirmed case of coronavirus at Kesgrave High - but they're not taking anything for granted... today's rigorous mock exams accompanied by a rigorous cleaning regime.

For GCSE students whose studies have already been severely disrupted by the pandemic, the debate continues over when, how, and if they'll face the real tests next year.

"I think my gut says don't go ahead just because we've had a lot of time off - a lot of learning lost. But I think we're capable of doing exams and I think my head says it's probably right to do them."

"I think the best situation is for them to go ahead. It would give us a chance to give them a good go. However we have had a lot of time out of school which is unsettling for some people."

Headteacher Julia Upton doesn't want more exams cancelled. But it's difficult, she says, to find a fair system in very unfair circumstances.

There's got to be something done to help it feel fair for all children. Our Year 11, in the majority, have been here every day since they returned in September but that's not the same experience as in other schools in other localities. It doesn't seem right that those children who've had even more gaps in learning in these last few weeks will be sitting the same examination in six months time.

Julia Upton Headteacher, Kesgrave High School
Julie Upton, Head of Kesgrave High School Credit: ITV Anglia

In schools across the region, Covid IS causing real problems.

Just down the road in Ipswich, Hillside Primary's had to close for two weeks - a combination of illness and isolation leading to a staff shortage.

In Norfolk, Gorleston's Cliff Park Academy hopes to reopen on Monday after being forced to shut this week.

And in some cases, it's certain year groups - or bubbles - affected. Hundreds of Year 10s at Springwood High in King's Lynn are being kept at home after a spate of positive tests.

Springwood High at King's Lynn Credit: ITV Anglia

At Kesgrave, six staff were isolating today. A headache for the head - but not a serious problem... yet.

"Schools aren't staffed with spare bodies sitting around waiting to go into a classroom because someone is working from home so it doesn't take very many for that to then become a more critical problem that needs a different solution."