RUDHEATH Primary Academy is set to close on December 11 as the Focus Trust extends the Christmas break to ‘safeguard the wellbeing of its staff and pupils’.

The Academy is part of the trust, a charitable multi-academy trust in the north west.

The trust said it would be extending the Christmas break for all 15 schools within the trust to ‘safeguard the wellbeing of our staff and pupils and protect precious family time together’ as coronavirus cases continued to rise significantly in many of its communities.

The move will mean that all the primary academies which form part of the trust will close after school on December 11, with additional learning days being added later in the year.

The trust said the announcement came following detailed discussions with the trust’s leadership team and its board, and came amid growing concern that many children, their families and staff would be forced to self-isolate throughout the traditional two-week holiday due to exposure to coronavirus.

Trust chief executive Helen Rowland said: “Our priority is always to safeguard the mental and physical health and wellbeing of our children and staff, and every decision we make is with their best interests, and those of our local communities, in mind.

“Since our schools reopened to all pupils in September we have followed the Government guidelines which stipulate that bubble groups should isolate for a period of two weeks if exposed to, and at risk of spreading, the virus.

“Despite our robust Covid secure arrangements and close working with HSE/Public Health, since September, we’ve had to close bubbles in 13 of our 15 schools, meaning that 1,740 children, and 375 staff have had to self-isolate.

“That’s 28 per cent of our children and 38 per cent of our staff. Just this week we had one of our one form entry schools, with no previous cases, who now have 90 children and 10 staff isolating for two weeks – almost half the school’.

“We recognise that short notice may be an issue for some families, but we hope that by taking the proactive and practical approach of extending the break, we can ensure that no-one is forced to self-isolate over the holiday because of someone they have come into contact with at school.

“The time will be made up later in the school year when it is safe and practical to do so, and families will be informed of the new dates as soon as possible.”