School pupils are being told to home school after a spike in coronavirus cases has seen teaching staff shortages.

The Year Nine students at St Clere's School in Stanford-le-Hope are being asked to remain at home for the rest of this week and take their lessons online because of a shortage of staff at the school which is Covid-19 related.

The parent letters said: "I am emailing a second time today to inform you that there is no reported cases of COVID in your child's year group. However, I was informed today, at 14.40, that there is a confirmed case in our year 7 group. It is completely coincidental and I am aware that some parents may hear both pieces of information and be unnecessarily concerned.

"In terms of the confirmed case in year 7, pupils in close contact (same class, same form, same bus, same dining space) have all been notified individually and given advice.

"I am writing to inform you that while we do not have a direct COVID outbreak at St Clere's school, we have a considerable number of staff who are off work with various Covid-related symptoms as well as track and trace instructions. It is not advised to bring in external supply teachers, which could break the 'bubbles' and could increase the risk of the virus being bought into the building from other schools.

"We have therefore decided to support year 9 through on-line learning at home for the last three days of this week. Year 9 pupils should stay at home and log into their lessons via TEAMS. If your child does not have this access at home, please email your child's Head of Year on the email addresses below so alternative tasks can be emailed.

"We have worked hard to ensure all pupils can attend every day this half term but we are following sound advice for this decision and we look forward to all our pupils returning after the half term break."