A headteacher says a secondary school has reached its 'tipping point' after multiple coronavirus cases - meaning an entire year group is now being taught virtually at home.

Westhoughton High School’s GCSE Year 11 group will be taught via Microsoft Teams until Thursday, December 3.

The school says the number of absences means the quality of learning has been compromised and the move would ensure all pupils have equal access to learning opportunities.

Lessons will be live and there will be a register as normal.

Young people with additional needs and those who normally were taught in the Learning Centre bubble, will continue to attend school as it is a small bespoke group.

Headteacher Patrick Ottley-O’Connor praised pupils for their resilience during this challenging time.

He said: “Our staff and students have been working extremely hard during what is a very challenging time.

"Despite the frustration of periods of isolation and blended learning, as well as the usual pressures of year 11, our students have engaged well.

“We are so proud of them.”

Mr Ottley-O’Connor explained the difficult decision to teach Year 11 pupils virtually.

He said: “We have had multiple positive covid results in our Year 11 bubble with individual students isolating or whole teaching groups isolating.

“Presently, we have reached a ‘tipping point’ in the year group whereby the quality of the learning provision is being compromised due to the absences mapping across different dates and time spans.

“We want to ensure equity in the learning of our students, and their opportunities to learn.

“It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to move our Year 11 teaching to Teams for all Year 11 students.

“Each day, we expect all Year 11 students to log in to teams from 8:50am, attending a virtual form time each morning whereby we will monitor attendance to virtual school and lesson-by-lesson.

“All lessons are live lessons and those in need of IT support have been in dialogue with school from the last Year 11 bubble closure shortly before October half-term.”

He added: “For those parents working, and unable to supervise work, we will contact daily if a student has not accessed their form time and any lessons.

"We appreciate that sometimes a student might miss a live lesson ­— appointments/IT issues ­— but would expect the work to be submitted once completed.

“We know this message may frustrate some and may encourage others that we are acting in the best interest of the year group as a whole.

"We are trying to ensure we offer the best quality education to all learners in an equitable manner.”