A HIGH school has 13 pupils and one staff member off as their family members are waiting for Covid-19 tests, it has been announced.

Manningtree High School has confirmed the students away from the school are in families where a family member is waiting for a test.

Sally Morris, the headteacher, said the students themselves are not waiting for tests.

She said: “The ones who are away are from a variety of year groups, as is to be expected as these are circumstance affecting different families not our students.”

She added: “Like all schools, we have people who have family members or associates who are waiting for test results and they are not allowed to come in to school until their family member has had a negative result.

“We have had no positive results and none of our students or staff have family members with positive results, as things stand.

“We have perfectly healthy students at home who are missing days of school because it takes so long for them a) to access a test in the first place and b) for the negative test to come back.

“This is of course also true for staff.”

Harwich and North Essex’s MP Sir Bernard Jenkin announced the number of pupils off at the school to the Prime Minister when he appeared before the House of Commons Liaison Committee yesterday.

Sir Bernard, who chairs the committee, asked Mr Johnson how the Government will prioritise testing for schools to keep them operating.

He said: “If the schools start falling over for lack of tests, that will disrupt everything.

“At Manningtree High School, in my constituency, 97 per cent of pupils came back when it reopened.

“They have got only 88 per cent of pupils in now and a staff member off waiting for a test for one of their children.”

He added: “How will we prioritise testing for schools to keep them operating?”

Mr Johnson said: “I can appreciate the frustrations of parenting and that pupils want more tests, and all I can say is that we are doing our best to supply more tests, to speed the process up, to turn it round faster, and to ensure that people get tests as close as possible to where they want them.”

Following the meeting Sir Bernard published a second tweet confirming there are no Covid-19 cases at Manningtree High School.