The headteacher of a school where an entire year group is currently self-isolating said the situation facing schools was “going to get worse” as the term went on.

Anita Ellis, headteacher at Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, defended her decision to send Year 9 pupils home on Monday after a student tested positive for coronavirus.

And she praised education campaign group WorthLess? which has said England schools were being hamstrung by delays in teachers getting tested for covid.

Ms Ellis told BBC Radio Wiltshire on Tuesday morning: “Jules White and the WorthLess? team are doing a cracking job, I think, of keeping this very firmly in the public eye because it is, as the term goes on, going to get worse.”

This weekend, the campaign group, which speaks for around 5,000 headteachers, hit out at a perceived lack of access to coronavirus tests for teachers. The group warned that the lack of tests would mean more teachers having to self-isolate, potentially resulting in staff shortages.

This Is Wiltshire:

Anita Ellis of Royal Wootton Bassett Academy

RWBA headteacher Ms Ellis said: “As from last week, on average we had seven members of staff out each day having their children tested, having themselves tested. Luckily none have come back as positive. [After] yesterday’s incident we had no members of staff who needed to self-isolate and go home.

“Our staff are carrying out every measure they can to keep themselves safe. However, we are relying on staff at the moment to continue with covers, we’re trying to get as much cover in as we possibly can. It’s costing an absolute fortune and there’s no additional money in the budget for that on top of the PPE of course that we have to spend our money on and we don’t have any allocation for that in our budget.”

She defended the decision to send 284 Year 9 pupils home for 14 days on Monday after a student in the year group tested positive for coronavirus. The schools said yesterday it was a precautionary measure and the pupils will continue learning at home.

“We know from this contagion that it is fast-spreading, that it can be passed onto others very quickly and we could not feel right with ourselves if a student had picked it up from another student and had taken it home,” Ms Ellis told the BBC.