Schools are drawing up plans to send whole year groups home amid concern that the Omicron variant will lead to staff shortages in January. The Telegraph has more.
Headteachers have warned the Prime Minister that they may be forced to prioritise key age groups for time in the classroom, while others are told to learn remotely.
The biggest threat to keeping children in face-to-face education will be high numbers of teachers forced into self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.
Primary schools in villages and small towns are understood to be considered by Whitehall officials as especially at risk of teacher shortages, given they have small numbers of staff.
The Government has already admitted that schools are likely to face disruption until Easter and is urging retired teachers to return to the classroom to fill gaps in timetables.
Sources at the Department for Education (DfE) said that their dedicated website aimed at encouraging former school staff to sign up as supply teachers had been visited around 25,000 times since it was launched a week ago. They were unable to confirm how many people had actually signed up to the scheme, estimating that it was “at least hundreds”.
But headteachers and parents fear that the scheme will not be enough to stem the tide of teacher absences and keep schools fully open next term.
Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said headteachers were “hoping for the best but planning for the worst”.
He told the Telegraph: “If you have a fixed pool available of those who can teach young people, then the only final resort schools and colleges have is to start thinking about the certain year groups that should be prioritised in the short term.”
Worth reading in full.