Higham Ferrers school closes early after 'rapid rise' in Covid cases

All students will revert to remote learning until the end of the final term

By Sam Wildman
Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 10:48 am
The Ferrers School.
The Ferrers School.

A school in Higham Ferrers has closed its doors early after a 'rapid rise' in Covid cases since the weekend.

The Ferrers School, in Queensway, says so many students and staff are isolating it is unsustainable to keep the school open for the final three days of the term.

Instead, after discussions with Public Health England and North Northamptonshire Council, the whole school will revert to remote learning until the start of the summer holidays.

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In a letter to parents yesterday (Tuesday) headteacher Angela Smith said: "We have experienced a very rapid rise in positive lateral flow tests being reported since Sunday, July 11.

"These are now being confirmed by positive PCR follow-up tests. This has resulted in a large proportion of students across years 7 to 10 being asked to isolate in keeping with the track and trace guidance and advice from the DfE (Department for Education).

"Alongside the positive cases amongst our student body, we are experiencing confirmed cases of Covid-19 in staff and as such, have been running at an increasingly reducing staff capacity since Monday morning.

"Having discussed the situation with both the local authority and Public Health England, it is with great regret that I have had to make the difficult decision to revert the whole school community to remote learning for the final three days of term.

"As such, the school will not be open to students from Wednesday, July 14. However, we expect all students to access their lessons online as per their normal timetable through Microsoft Teams."

Year 12 students at The Ferrers School have been told they should not travel to Huxlow Science College or Rushden Academy for lessons, with the three schools making up one post-16 learning community under the name East Northamptonshire College.

The school is continuing to track and trace students who have been identified as a close contact of a Covid case and has urged parents to notify them of any positive tests in the coming days.

Ms Smith's letter said: "We have worked tirelessly to keep our school site and community as safe as possible but believe the current situation is not sustainable for the remaining three days of term.

"I do hope that this will be the ‘final push’ against this terrible virus and yet again we thank you for your loyal support and understanding.

"The students really do deserve a better deal next year and we are doing everything in our power to improve this situation for families before the summer holidays."

Northamptonshire's most recent Covid surveillance report, released last Friday (July 9) revealed 1,121 cases were recorded in Northamptonshire between June 28 and July 4 - an increase of 134 per cent compared to the previous week.

The biggest number of positive cases in the most recent 28-day recording period was in the 10 to 19 age bracket, closely followed by 20 to 29-year-olds.

At the time of last week's report East Northamptonshire had two Covid outbreaks, both in education settings.