This time the shortage of staff in schools is likely to increase, the Education Secretary admitted

Nadim Jahvi has told MPs that teaching should be face-to-face to give children the best learning experience.

He added: “We must do everything we can, do everything in our power to keep all education and childcare settings open and teach individually.”

Outlining measures for schools in England as the new term begins, the minister said: “Schools will face some degree of staff absenteeism.

“At the end of last year that figure was about 8% of the workforce, and probably with increasing cases at school and certainly younger people as we return to school.”

We must do everything we can, do everything in our power to keep all education and childcare settings open and to teach individually

Last month, the education secretary had called for former and retired teachers to return to the classroom as part of efforts to tackle the staff shortage.

Mr Jahvi said the first volunteers of former teachers have returned to schools – including MP Carolyn Ansel for Eastbourne and MP North Jonathan Gullis for Stoke-on-Trent.

But he told lawmakers he would have a “better idea” on the exact number of former teachers coming “by the end of this week”.

Students across the country are returning to class this week after a festive break, with new advice for secondary school students in England to wear face coverings at lessons due to a rise in Covid-19 cases.

School leaders have voiced their concerns that the new term could worsen staff shortages and further hamper children’s education.

(PA Graphics) , PA Graphics

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