SCHOOLS across Wyre Forest are teaching far more children on-site compared to the start of the first lockdown last March.

One local multi-academy trust is experiencing a 200 per cent increase overall in the number of key worker and vulnerable children attending.

Chris King, chief executive of the Severn Academies Educational Trust (SAET), which has several schools across the district, said: “The numbers coming into our schools at the start of lockdown last March were quite low – for example on March 23, 12 pupils attended Hartlebury CE Primary, whereas there were 33 on Monday, January 11.”

The trust’s two secondary schools, Kidderminster’s Baxter College and Stourport High School, both started lockdown last March with fewer than 10 pupils and although the figure fluctuated, on Monday they reported 37 and 36 pupils on-site respectively.

Mr King said the trust’s five primary schools were seeing an average of 22 per cent of their pupils in school.

SAET schools, however, are not catering for as many children on-site as some schools around the country who have reported up to 60 per cent of their normal roll attending.

Headteachers elsewhere in the country have expressed their concern over the number of children of key workers attending school.

The highest so far for SAET, based on Monday’s attendance, has been 27 per cent at Wolverley Sebright Primary Academy.

Mr King said: “The impact in terms of the percentage of those on roll being taught on-site is, as expected, greater in the primary sector. The numbers attending our two secondary schools, although much higher than last March, represents only three or four per cent of their rolls.

The definition of key workers is an extensive list and maybe fewer people are working from home this time.

“It may also be that those who are home-based feel unable to juggle their own work with supervising their children’s home learning as well at this time.

“Our schools work closely with their families to ensure the best and safest provision is being made for all our children.

“We have all the stringent protocols in place in our schools to protect pupils and staff and our two secondary schools are also regularly testing all those on-site for coronavirus. I am pleased to report there have been no positive tests to date.”

Mr King added that all schools were teaching a full curriculum online with paper copies of work for students struggling at home to access wifi or appropriate devices.