HUNDREDS of Oxfordshire pupils will be unable to attend school this week due to teacher shortages caused by coronavirus.

At least five secondary schools in the county have announced partial closures, due to staff members self-isolating.

They are: Oxford Spires Academy, St Gregory the Great Catholic School in Oxford, Faringdon Community College, Aureus School in Didcot and the Warriner School near Banbury.

Spires will be closed for Years 9, 10 and 12 from today onwards, until further notice.

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A message sent to parents by principal Marianne Blake yesterday said: "We are currently experiencing staff shortages, due to the need to protect our most vulnerable students and staff via self isolation.

"We have therefore made the decision for a partial closure of the school until we advise otherwise."

Ms Blake said teachers are trying to maintain lessons for Year 11 and Year 13 pupils – who have exams coming up – ‘for as long as possible’.

There are currently no confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the school.

The principal added: “Students will be expected to stay at home and complete work set by class teachers.

“As this is an increasing picture please keep an eye on the website for potential closures to further year groups in Key Stage 3 from March 19.”

At St Gregory the Great, the school closed yesterday for Years 7, 8 and 9, until further notice.

Read more about the reasoning here

At Faringdon Community College, 16 per cent of staff are either self-isolating or are on long-term sick leave.

Today, the school will be closed for Year 9 pupils, and all other pupils will attend.

It will be closed to Year 10 pupils on Thursday, and Year 9 students on Friday.

In a letter, published on the school's website, headteacher Colin Proffitt said: "Under normal circumstances, we would buy in supply teachers to cover staff absence but in the current climate, fewer supply staff are willing to come into schools and demand for supply staff is high.

"Because of staff shortages, I have now had to take the difficult decision to partially close the school.

"We have tried to avoid doing this but we need to make sure that, if we have 1,300 students in school we can have teachers in front of the classes, and currently this is not possible."

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The Warriner School, in Bloxham near Banbury, will be closed today to Year 9 pupils.

In a letter seen by the Oxford Mail, headteacher Annabel Key told parents: "We have been preparing for the running of the school to be impacted due to the measures announced relating to self-isolation.

"Whilst we are doing all that we can to keep the school open, staff absence has risen beyond the level where we can teach all year groups."

The head apologised to parents for the inconvenience but said pupils in Year 9 would be provided with a full day of work using the school's online portal.

Aureus School in Didcot is only open to Years 8 and 9 today, according to a message it tweeted shortly after 9pm last night. 

The tweet said: "School is open for Year 8 and Year 9 only on Wednesday 18th March.

"A letter with further details has been sent to all parents and carers regarding distance learning."