Year seven pupils at Outwood Academy Portland have been moved to online lessons for three days from Tuesday, March 15, and are expected to return to school on Friday, March 18.
The decision was announced in an update yesterday at 2pm as school leaders said ‘exceptional levels’ of staff absence had left them unable to safely accommodate all students in the school over the next few days.
It read: “This is not a decision that we have taken lightly and sincerely wish that there was a way in which we could keep all of our students in school, however, we cannot do this without compromising the safety and quality of lessons.
“The health, safety and welfare of our students, staff, families and the community are at the forefront of the decisions we make as a school.”
One parent said she was ‘fuming’ as the school gave no notice for working parents.
On the school’s update on Twitter, a parent replied: “How dare you further steal more of my child’s education away from him with less than 18 hours notice? That’s 12 days lost and counting!”
Another said: “I feel this school is letting year 7 children down, how many times has it shut now.”
A spokesperson for Outwood Academy Portland has responded saying students will have access to high-level remote learning resources, with engaging online and pre-recorded lessons delivered during normal school times.
Students without access to a computer are also able to collect a paper work pack, as well as pens and paper if needed. Students in receipt of free school meals will also continue being given support.
The spokesperson added: "We appreciate the concerns of parents and we apologise for the short notice, but during these challenging times decisions like this have to be made immediately so we can best support students across the whole school.
"We are currently running at around 75 per cent staffing capacity and due to this we took the decision to use the staff we have to ensure those students that will be sitting exams in a matter of weeks, suffer the least amount of disruption.
"We are aware this isn't ideal to those parents of younger students, but we ask for your patience as we navigate through these issues.”