Trust announces plans to shut primary schools in West Yorkshire a week early for Christmas

A multi-academy trust which runs primary schools in West Yorkshire has announced plans to close all its institutions a week early for Christmas, in a bid to 'safeguard' pupils and staff following a rise in Covid-19 infection rates.

Seven of the 15 facilities run by the Focus Trust are in Batley, Dewsbury and Bradford. The others are in the North West.

All schools will shut on December 11.

In a statement, the Focus Trust said that that since September, more than a quarter of their pupils have been forced to self-isolate.

Bosses added that the time missed in education will be made up later in the school year when it is "safe and practical to do so".

Fieldhead Primary Academy is one of seven schools closing early. Credit: ITV News

Focus Trust’s Chief Executive Helen Rowland said: “Our priority is always to safeguard the mental and physical health and wellbeing of our children and our staff, and every decision we make is with their best interests, and those of our local communities in mind.

“Since our schools re-opened to all pupils in September, we have followed the Governmentguidelines which stipulate that bubble groups should isolate for a period of two weeks if exposed to, and at risk of spreading, the virus.

“Despite our robust COVID secure arrangements and close working with HSE/Public Health, since September, we’ve had to close bubbles in thirteen of our fifteen schools, meaning that 1740 children, and 375 staff have had to self-isolate - that’s 28% of our children and 38% of our staff. Just this week we had one of our one form entry schools, with no previous cases, who now have 90 children and 10 staff isolating for two weeks – almost half the school’

We recognise the short notice may be an issue for some families but we hope that by taking the proactive and practical approach of extending the break, we can ensure that no one is forced to selfisolate over the holiday because of someone they have come into contact with at school.

Helen Rowland, Focus Trust’s Chief Executive

The seven schools set to close early in West Yorkshire are:

  • Birstall Primary Academy, Batley

  • Fieldhead Primary Academy, Batley.

  • Boothroyd Primary Academy, Dewsbury

  • Thornhill Junior and Infant School, Dewsbury

  • Shibden Head Primary Academy, Bradford

  • Thornton Primary School, Bradford

  • Wilsden Primary School, Bradford