Over 95% of primary and 89% of secondary pupils have returned to the classroom in Wolverhampton – with more than 33,000 young people attending school this week.

Schools were able to welcome all children back full time from last week as part of the first step on the Government's road map out of the Covid-19 lockdown, with attendance once again mandatory.

Councillor Dr Michael Hardacre, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: "It's great that so many children and young people are now back in the classroom, many for the first time this year.

"The high attendance rate in Wolverhampton is particularly pleasing – over 95% of pupils are now back at our primary schools, higher than the national average of 94%, while 89% of secondary students have returned, in line with the national average.

"Thanks to the efforts of school staff, parents and pupils, and the support of our education and public health teams, the return of children and the introduction of regular rapid testing for secondary pupils has gone as well as we could have hoped.

"We now need to do all we can to make sure our schools remain Covid-secure so that we don't see a spike in infections in the weeks and months ahead. 

“That's why it is important for staff, secondary school students and families and householders of primary and secondary pupils and staff to get themselves tested regularly for Covid-19, and that everyone continues to practice Hands, Face, Space in the classroom and on the school run.”

As part of the expanded testing offer, secondary school pupils, households and bubbles of school and college students and staff are encouraged to get a free rapid Covid-19 test twice a week. Staff working in early years settings and childminders should also get tested. To get a rapid test:

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Rapid testing helps find hidden cases of the virus and break chains of transmission, stopping outbreaks before they occur.

"I would encourage all eligible households to take up the offer of twice weekly rapid testing – it’s quick and painless, will help keep your school Covid-secure and will, ultimately, save lives."

Rapid testing is only for people without symptoms of Covid-19. Anyone with symptoms must book a PCR test online at GOV.UK or by calling 119.

Latest figures show there were 63 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 15 March. That means 166 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be higher.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. Information about the vaccine can be found at Covid-19 Vaccine. Further details of the restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at COVID Alert.