SCHOOLS in Dorset have outlined their plans for the staggered return to classrooms in January following the government’s latest coronavirus announcement.

Most secondary school pupils in England have been told to work from home for the first week of next term, following the government’s plan which requires state schools to carry out mass Covid-19 testing.

However, this decision has not been welcomed by some local headteachers.

In a post on Facebook, Ferndown Upper School Headteacher Philip Jones said: “There are a number of questions and logistics that this announcement raises, but I just wanted to reassure you all that we will not rush into a snap, ill-informed decision and will consider all relevant aspects before updating you of our plans.

“I do have to say that I would welcome on site testing but I feel that the government’s idea to use school staff to do this, with all the associated issues this raises, to be ill-judged.”

Mr Jones went on to say that he had reservations about opening to all year groups on the school’s return in the New Year as he did not wish to put those students taking exams at a disadvantage.

He added: “We will wait for further clarification and will then inform you of our plans in good time.

“But as it stands of today, we will expect all year groups to return to school on Tuesday, January 5.

“Rest assured however," he said, "We will continue to evaluate the situation to ensure that we make the best decision for our students and their education.”

A similar statement was shared by Twynham School headteacher Jy Taylor, although he said he “welcomed” in-school testing.

In a letter to parents at the school, Mr Taylor said: “Whilst I remain incredibly frustrated by the timing of these announcements and the expectations being placed on schools by the government, I welcome both the decision to stagger the beginning of term and the introduction of in-school testing.

“Both are designed to minimise further the impact of Covid-19 as well as to provide a safer worker environment for colleagues.

“We have spent considerable time today beginning the early planning associated with this and, once again, I have been awe-struck by the flexibility and ingenuity of colleagues.

“At this stage we are not in a position to give you further information but I would want to reassure all parents that this test is designed to enable fewer students to be required to self-isolate and to give reassurance that asymptomatic cases are identified early.”

Parents will be contacted during the Christmas break and provided with more details about how these tests will be carried out.

Mr Taylor has asked that all parents to remain vigilant to any communication from school.

Face-to-face learning is expected to restart for all by January 11, according to the government.