A HEADTEACHER has warned her school is nearly at ‘breaking point’ due to the lack of coronavirus tests available.

Jane Davis, who leads Lanchester Primary School in County Durham, said she receives up to 20 emails a day from desperate parents and is facing sever staff shortages.

She described the Government’s testing system as ‘a complete farce’.

Ms Davis said: “I have never experienced anything quite like this.

“My organisation almost on its knees already.

“I am receiving around ten to 20 emails daily from parents daily desperate to access tests and asking how they can get one as there are none available.

“They have refreshed the website hourly and still had no joy.

“These children have lost enough school this year and they are losing so much more due to a lack of tests.”

On Sunday a member of staff and a child travelled to Gretna as that was the closest testing centre, a round trip of 100 miles.

On Tuesday a parent who had been trying to access a test all weekend rang and told me that she had booked a test in Moffat but took her code to the mobile unit at Consett AFC where she eventually managed to get tested.

Ms Davis said: “I know three people who have been to Consett to be tested and they all said the same thing: ‘it was very quiet and hardly anyone there’. It’s criminal.

“People are desperate for tests, cannot book one anywhere and yet the mobile test centre is empty. What is going so badly wrong?

Ms Davis said she has five members of staff absent from work, and is struggling to keep all the children safe.

She said if the situation worsened there was a real possibility the school could have to close because staff would not be able to look after pupils.

She expects the situation to worsen as the weather turns colder and more people come down with common colds.

Ms Davis said: “I am on my knees and at the end of my tether after only two weeks into the new school year.

“As school leaders, we do everything in our power to support children, staff, parents and the local community.

“We put ourselves last. But I am at my wits end as to how I’m able to run a school, educate the children to the best of our ability when we have such a chaotic, farcical testing system.

“Something needs to be done and be done with immediate effect.”

The has 430 children and a staff of over 50.

Ms Davis has written to her local MP, Richard Holden, who represents North-West Durham outlining her concerns.

He said: “I share the concern of local school leaders, in fact of our whole local community, around testing availability, which is why I welcome the new testing facility available at Consett AFC.

“I raised these concerns directly with the Health Secretary on Monday when he visited Shotley Bridge and on Tuesday in Parliament.

“While the Government have massively increased testing, it’s clear that they need to do more to deliver more, accessible tests as close to people as possible and I’ll keep pushing to that end.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said NHS Test and Trace is providing tests at an unprecedented scale, 200,000 a day on average over the last week, with the vast majority of people getting tested within six miles of their home.

The spokesman added: “There has been a spike in demand in recent weeks and the message is clear – only people with symptoms should be requesting a test.

“We’re doing everything possible to overcome this challenge, including by bringing in new labs that can process tens of thousands of tests a day, opening new test sites, and trialling new rapid tests that will give results on the spot.

“As we expand capacity further, we will continue to work around the clock to make sure that everyone who needs a test can get one.”