ALEX Cunningham MP for Stockton North has written to the Education Secretary demanding headteachers are given proper support to run Track and Trace.

Mr Cunningham said: “I knew school leaders would inevitably have some role in the Track and Trace system in their own schools but the extent of the role is far greater than I could ever have imagined. I have heard about headteachers who have effectively been on call 24/7 with no break since March. Even on weekends and through school holidays, if a child in the school tests positive the entire system of tracking who that child has been in contact with, assessing if the contact is likely to have led to infection, and contacting the parents of the other children to notify them to isolate their child - we are talking about hours and hours of work - falls on the desk of the headteacher and senior staff.

“If the Tory Government’s national Serco Track and Trace was half as efficient as local schools have been, I have no doubt our country would be in a better state today. But our teachers and headteachers have enough pressure trying to run schools without having to carry this huge extra burden. It is time for the Tories to make sure that local schools are given proper support as they carry out this vital work on behalf of the Government. If they can find billions to pay Serco for running this crucial system - even when they do it so incompetently - I am sure they can find enough resources to make sure our hardworking teachers can take their well deserved time off.”