Some pupils in Colchester were told to stay home after a school said it did not have enough staff to put on the full timetable.

Schools across Essex remain open this week despite universities across the country cancelling all face-to-face lessons.

Philip Morant School, in Colchester, announced it would partially close, with Year 9 pupils told to stay at home until the end of the week.

In an email sent to parents, seen by the Gazette, the school’s leadership said the decision had been made because of a lack of available staff.

Executive headteacher Scott Holder and head of school Stephanie Neill said: “The present decision has been to keep schools open.

“We are not in a position to staff the full timetable [on Tuesday], due to the number of staff self-isolating.

“It will not be our approach to combine into large classes as this causes additional risks regarding social distancing.”

The school will remain closed to Year 9 pupils from today until Friday, with a decision yet to be made regarding their attendance next week.

“We are reviewing the situation as it evolves and will make decisions regarding the

following week and notify [the parents] as early as possible,” they said.