Less than half of all schools in Angus have had confirmed Covid-19 cases since the start of the academic year, a council report has revealed.
Angus Council children and learning committee heard that since August, just 25 out of the 59 schools in the region have been affected by Covid.
In total, there have been 92 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Angus schools since the start of the academic year. Of these, 61 have been in children and 31 in members of staff.
For context, there are around 15,500 school pupils and 2,000 nursery children across the region.
This means that less than 0.5% of all school pupils in Angus have tested positive for the virus over the course of the school year to date.
Last year, pupils in Angus resumed school on a full-time basis from August 17.
However, due to the second national lockdown, they reverted to home learning after the Christmas break and did not return to in-class teaching until February, March and April.
Schools have done an ‘excellent job’
The low number of cases has been attributed to safety measures put in place by schools, and the work of staff was praised by support services manager at Angus Council, Beth Reader.
She said: “Our numbers are low when put in the context [of the school population].
“We’ve worked really closely with our partners in the council, the safety team and public health to make sure we have the most appropriate mitigations in place.
“And of course, our head teachers and their schools staff putting everything in place.
“We provide the guidance for the risk assessments but it’s our school colleagues that actually make that happen so this shows the work they have been doing.”
“Our numbers are low when put in the context [of the school population]. ”
Beth Reader, support services manager at Angus Council.
The committee report also detailed that “in a few circumstances, there has been a requirement for full year groups to self-isolate” but this has not led to complete school closures due to circulation of the virus.
It was also highlighted that prior to the announcement of the second national lockdown in December, “school attendance in Angus remained at a high level” and “staff absence due to Covid-19 remained low”.
Fall in home schooling requests
The committee report also showed that there has been a reduction in the number of requests to Angus Council for home education compared to the same period 12 month previous.
In the five month period from November 2020 to April 2021, there were 12 requests for home education made to the local authority.
This compares with 14 requests for home education and two for flexi-education in the between November 2019 and April 2020.
Additional teaching staff
The children and learning committee also approved the recruitment of an additional 20 full-time-equivalent (FTE ) teachers and around 10.5 FTE additional support staff.
This will cost the council an estimated £1,171,000.
Angus Council previously approved the recruitment of 40 additional teachers to support education recovery in the region.
To date, 22 FTE primary teachers and 8.4 FTE additional secondary teachers have been recruited and deployed to work with schools in Angus.
These additional staff were deployed to add capacity to support progress in learning and to improve attainment in reading.
From August 2020, the additional teachers also supported the smooth running schools by providing short-term absence cover for teachers who were absent due to the need to self-isolate or for Covid testing.