STUDENTS at a school in Bournemouth have been forced to return to a mix of remote learning due to staff shortages.

Absences among staff members at The Bishop of Winchester Academy has left the school with “significantly depleted” numbers of staffing.

The school has put in place a revised timetable for students in year 7, 8, 9, 10 and 12, until at least Monday December 13.

Each year group will attend school as normal apart from certain days when they will be at home. When at home students are required to follow their usual timetables.

Bournemouth Echo:

However, years 11 and 13 will continue to attend school full-time as students are revising for external exams and the school recognises that these academic years were “disproportionally affected” by previous school closures during the pandemic.

In a letter sent out to parents and guardians on Wednesday December 1, Principal Paul McKeown said: “We have made every effort to continue to provide an outstanding education to all our students whilst maintaining an environment that us as safe as possible.

“Unfortunately, there are a number of staff who are absent, and this has left us with a significantly depleted level of staffing to effectively maintain all students’ education and safety in school, which is of course our first priority.

“We fully appreciate the impact that this will have on our young people and yourselves as parents and carers.

“We apologise for the additional disruption to learning and family life that these measures will inevitably bring, but hope it is understood that the school would not be taking these exceptional measures unless it was absolutely essential do so.”

What Public Health Dorset have told schools

Schools are also being told to extend Covid measures until Christmas, when they will be reviewed, alongside implementing mask wearing in secondary schools.

Mr Crowe said: “Our recommendation is for schools to continue with those additional measures until the end of term - until Christmas and then we’ll review that again.

“It’s a continual conversation with schools and they’ve been brilliant all the way through this pandemic and we’re continuing to work with them on an individual basis.”

These measures include enhanced testing, reduced mixing and wearing face coverings are recommended at schools across the county as infection rates remain highest in school-aged children.