A North-East primary school, which had to be closed due to five staff members testing positive for coronavirus, is to reopen to almost all pupils earlier than planned.

Hemlington Hall Academy, in Middlesbrough, announced that it was closing for 14 days from last Monday due to a significant number of staff having to self-isolate following the outbreak.

However, following a successful review of staffing, parents have been informed this afternoon that the school will open a week early – from next Monday (September 21).

The only exception is pupils in one bubble in Year 5, but the school is hoping to be in a position to include them as soon as possible.

In the meantime, the school has undergone two deep cleaning operations, and is Covid free.

Nick Blackburn, chief executive of Lingfield Education Trust, which includes Hemlington Hall Academy, said today: “Our absolute priority is to get our pupils back in a safe learning environment, so we are delighted that we have been able to reopen the school earlier than had originally been expected.

“We are deeply appreciative of the way the school community – staff, parents and children – have rallied round, showing great flexibility and patience in difficult circumstances.

“I can assure everyone that the school will continue to ensure that all Public Health England measures are rigorously in place.”

Mr Blackburn paid tribute to the school’s head teacher, Karen Edmenson, for her determination to open the school as soon as possible and for her strong leadership.