SENIOR school staff have been accused of keeping parents in the dark after a colleague contracted coronavirus.

The incident happened last week at the Cavendish Hub in Eastbourne, which is currently schooling the children of key workers from several institutions in the area.

A statement from East Sussex National Education Union (NEU) said that senior staff had known that a staff member at the hub had contracted coronavirus on Monday, May 11, but parents and fellow staff members were not told for four days. The union said the “failure to inform staff and parents represents a serious and imminent threat to health”. But Peter Marchant, headteacher of Cavendish School - one of the institutions to be sharing the hub - has said that Public Health England advice was followed throughout.

A spokesman for East Sussex NEU said: “Thankfully, we understand the member of staff is not seriously ill but the potential infection that may have taken place given the size of the hub represents a serious and imminent threat to health.

“We are particularly concerned as, despite this being known by some of the senior leadership on Monday, May 11, staff and parents were not made aware until late on Friday, May 15. This was only disclosed at all after the unions were informed of the case on May 15 and contacted management to say we would tell staff and parents if they did not.

“Allowing staff and children to attend the hub for a whole week without informing them, shutting, allowing testing to take place, and doing a full school deep clean is unacceptable.

“There has clearly been a series of failures here and as advice was sought by leadership from East Sussex County Council and Public Health England it raises serious questions about the quality of that advice.”

Mr Marchant released a statement with East Sussex County Council, responding to these claims.

He said: “Throughout the pandemic we have remained open for children of key workers from not only our school but others around the town to enable their parents to continue to work and provide the services we all rely on.

“We are aware of the concerns raised about a member of our staff who has tested positive for Covid-19. As with every other school and local authority in the country, we had received official Public Health England guidance on how to deal with cases of Covid-19 and we have followed the correct procedures from the outset. We contacted Public Health England to confirm that the approach we were taking continued to be the correct one. Everyone who came into direct contact as a team member was informed, and a deep clean was carried out in the team area. Additional cleaning is now taking place as a precaution.”