Less than one per cent of pupils have tested positive after Covid testing at Ledbury’s John Masefield High School this week.

Pupils in years 11, 12 and 13 had on-site lateral flow tests on Tuesday before returning to classes on Wednesday, with years 7, 8, 9 and 10 testing on Wednesday.

Deputy headteacher Andy Collard said testing went well and praised pupils for taking part.

“We knew a couple of days before we broke up for Christmas that we’d have to test pupils when they came back. We have tested the vast majority of pupils in school and have had less than 1% test positive in school.

“We’ve also had families that have been testing at home over the holidays and a small number of those didn’t come in for testing at school because they tested positive at home.”

“I have to say our school testing team have been fantastic. They are led by Rebecca French, our school business manager, we have staff from around the school who are redeployed to other duties and we have great support from the local community - people who have come in three times now to help with on-site testing. They are a well trained team.”

Mr Collard said pupils at John Masefield were also keeping themselves safe by wearing masks and getting vaccinated when they’re eligible.

“With facemasks, we have been proactive,” he said. “The announcement about facemasks in classrooms didn’t make sense to me because we’d already been told to wear them in corridors, and what’s the point in wearing one for three seconds in a corridor if you’re not going to wear one for three hours in a classroom surrounded by 30 people?

“So the new announcement didn’t affect us at all because we were already doing it.”

Mr Collard said a high percentage of eligible pupils have been vaccinated too, with many getting their first jab at the school.

“The Herefordshire vaccination team have been amazing and said we had one of the highest rates of vaccination in the county.

“I think that’s made a big difference - at any point throughout the pandemic we’ve never had more than 3% of the school community off isolating. There’s obviously luck involved but we’ve also done a lot of work to make sure people are safe.

“We’ve also been lucky in that our staff absence levels have been very low. It’s been tricky at times but we have a fall-back system in place. We haven’t sent an entire year group home at any point, either. We’re one of only a few schools that can say that.”