PARENTS of pupils at a school where hundreds of children have been sent home to self-isolate following three positive coronavirus tests have been told aggression towards staff will ‘not be tolerated.’

Teachers and support staff at The Hermitage Academy, in Chester-le-Street, have been verbally abused by some parents after being told their children will have to remain at home for the safety of others.

Some youngsters in year seven and all of those in years eight and nine are out of school following positive Covid-19 results.

Executive headteacher Janice Gorlach has written to parents to warn those who abused staff making individual phone calls such behaviour cannot continue.

Dr Gorlach said: “A small number of parents have responded to staff calling them with extreme aggression and rudeness; staff should not be subject to this and it cannot be tolerated.

“We understand that the whole situation is very frustrating, but we are working within Government guidelines at all times and at great speed. It also takes some time to call significant numbers of parents.

“I would like to thank those parents who have gone out of their way to support us. It has meant so very much to us all. We all wish, as you do, that we could operate normally.”

The Northern Echo:

The Hermitage Academy in Chester-le-Street

Year eight pupils must stay home until Friday, 14 days after last contact with an infected pupil, while year nine is off until October 6.

Parents are being urged to inform school if their child has been taken for a test, and not to send them in while they await the result.

The letter from Dr Gorlach also said: “We are operating under very challenging circumstances and following all Government guidance to the letter.

“We are working with over one thousand young people in a very old building with many challenges and everyone is doing their very best for the students.

“They are also doing their best to manage within very severe restrictions. Covid-19 is increasingly present in our local area and schools are no exception.

“The positive cases of COVID-19 in each year group are unrelated and each one is unique.

“We have consulted with Public Health England regarding each case, which we must do, before decisions are taken.”

It is understood children in isolation are continuing with their education through remote learning at home.

Dr Gorlach said: “We have carefully followed all Department for Education and Public Health England guidelines to isolate whole or part year groups when a positive case has been confirmed.

“We have also gone to great lengths to communicate decisions effectively through expediting letters and text messages home and by attempting to make personal telephone contact with each and every parent affected when their child needs to self-isolate.”