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Near breaking point: headteachers worn down by ‘non-stop Covid crisis’

Heads in England say they need support and advice, not more pressure from the government

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At the gates of the Newtown testing facility in Powys, Wales, a headteacher stood and wept. Daring not risk infecting staff or pupils, Catriona Stewart had driven for two hours from her home in Cheshire, suffering from a persistent cough she feared was Covid-19. She had spent another two hours searching the internet and this had been the nearest test centre where she could pre-book – but when she arrived on time for her test, there were no more slots.

“I waved my QR booking code but it didn’t make any difference. The man at the gate told me that the tests had been used up by people who turned up without an appointment,” says Stewart, head of the 320-pupil Kingsmead primary in Northwich.

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