A RECEPTION class from a primary school in Windle has been sent home after a teaching assistant tested positive for coronavirus.

St Helens Borough Council has confirmed that 30 children from Bleak Hill Primary School have been instructed to isolate.

A council spokesman also confirmed that a second teaching assistant from the school is also isolating after testing positive last week. The teaching assistant had not been in contact with children or staff.

Bleak Hill is the latest school that has been forced to take action since the start of the new academic year.

Last week, a pupil at St James’ Church of England Primary School in Haydock tested positive for coronavirus.

Subsequently, a bubble of 25 children in Year 3, and staff, were sent home to isolate.

Days later, 56 children from Wargrave Church of England Primary School in Newton-le-Willows – which has seen the greatest number of new cases in the entire borough in recent weeks – were sent home.

The two Year 2 classes were told to isolate after a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

Andy Howard, secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) for St Helens, said schools were operating in “unprecedented times”.

He also praised St Helens’ public health team for responding “appropriately” to new cases of Covid-19 in schools.

Mr Howard said: “I know where the schools have had issues, they’ve worked closely with the local authority and public health teams.

“The message is still out there that we want the children in school, but it has to be safe for them and safe for the staff, that’s of paramount importance.

“But I’ve got to say I think public health and local authority have responded appropriately when cases have been identified and there’s only been minimal disruption to certain year groups. We haven’t faced any whole-school shutdowns or anything like that.

“I think it’s been a positive return, albeit fraught with difficulties.”

Mr Howard, head teacher at Legh Vale Primary School in Haydock, said teaching in the current circumstances has been challenging, but is glad children are back.

“I’ve got to say it’s been really great having the children back in school,” he said.

“I think the children have really appreciated coming back and seeing their friends.

“And 90 per cent of it is how they always remember it, which is great, it’s just there’s 10 per cent that’s changed.

“They can’t do certain things that they could before and there’s social distancing measures in place, as best we can.

“But it does feel really good to get all the children back in school. It’s nice to see the smiles on their faces.”