PUBLIC health chiefs have defended the handling of a number of cases of coronavirus at a Bromsgrove school.

Several pupils at South Bromsgrove High School have returned positive Covid tests in the past fortnight, the Advertiser understands.

We reported earlier this week that a second case had come to light but it is now believed four more pupils - including two sixth-formers - have now tested positive.

Concerned parents have criticised the lack of 'bubbles' at the Charford Road school - which caters for more 1,300 pupils - with only close contacts of confirmed cases asked to self-isolate.

"Surely it should be shut and deep cleaned?" one worried parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said to the Advertiser.

"I am a parent of two pupils at the school and I am sick and tired of them hiding behind Government policies - they are not working! Bubbles there don't exist."

Some schools in Bromsgrove have sent home entire classes or year groups after confirmed cases but public health chiefs say that is not a universal policy.

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire, said: “We have seen a rise in the number of cases of COVID-19 across Worcestershire and neighbouring areas.

"All schools across Worcestershire, including South Bromsgrove High were required to undertake a COVID-19 risk assessment to prepare for opening this term.

"These assessments outline the way measures have been tailored to a school's individual environment to prevent whole bubbles being collapsed unnecessarily and allowing the school to remain open.

"The assessment explores how social distancing can be maintained and a school's proposed bubble arrangements, these help reduce the mixing of children and the number of other direct/close contacts.

"Bromsgrove is currently the district with the highest number of cases in Worcestershire and over the last two weeks we have been made aware that members of the South Bromsgrove High community have tested positive for COVID-19.

"We are continuing to work with the school to help ensure all assessment protocols are followed, contact tracing is carried out and all preventive measures remain in place whilst minimising the educational impact on pupils.

"Throughout the term, the school has contacted any pupils and staff who are identified as close contacts to advise them to stay at home and self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus.

"For any pupils required to self-isolate they are being supported to continue their learning through remote access.”