A SOUTH Northumberland school has insisted the health, safety and wellbeing of its pupils and staff remains a priority.

It comes after an anonymous source approached the Courant claiming that teachers at Highfield Middle School, in Prudhoe, had been told by the headteacher the school was not Covid safe and to stay at home.

The source alleged that teachers had been told to claim mental health, illness or stress, or attempt to obtain a sick note, to stay off work.

Now, headteacher Richard Oades has responded to the claims, insisting that the school is, and always has been, Covid compliant.

He said: "Throughout the Covid pandemic, the leadership team at Highfield Middle School has implemented the full system of controls as outlined in guidance issued by the DfE. We have also worked with Northumberland County Council's Health and Safety team to support all risk assessments and make the school Covid secure, in line with national expectations.

"We have a fantastic team of teachers, who are all committed to their roles and working really hard to support the education of our pupils, each of them splitting their time between face-to-face teaching on site and supporting remote learning online.

"The health, safety, and wellbeing of our pupils and staff remains our priority and every decision is made in the best interests of the individuals in our care."

Schools across the country all but closed their doors for a second time earlier this month - the day government declared them safe for pupils to return to after the Christmas break.

Educational settings - with the exception of early years - are expected to resume remote learning until, at least, February half-term, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisting they will be the first thing to reopen once restrictions ease. Key workers' children and vunlernable children can attend as normal.