Almost 500 pupils at a covid-hit Paisley high school have missed classes, despite just 13 being told to self isolate following an outbreak at the school.

Absence rates at Castlehead High School soared after a positive test for Covid-19 was recorded and many worried parents kept their children at home.

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A tiny number of pupils and staff were diagnosed with the virus at the Camphill site between August 14 and September 16.

A further 13 were asked to self isolate because they had been in close contact with an infected person at the school.

But the Express can now reveal that 477 students - two thirds of the 733 school roll - missed lessons across 23 school days.

The figures were obtained by the Express under a Freedom of Information request, which has revealed that absence rates skyrocketed at the first four Renfrewshire schools to record positive coronavirus cases.

At Todholm Primary School - the first Renfrewshire school to be impacted by the virus - 272 children were recorded absent on one or more occasion between the start of term and September 16.

The missed lessons were shared across a school population of 427.

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At Wallace Primary School in Elderslie, 166 absences were recorded by the 341 students in the same time frame.

And at Paisley’s St James’ Primary School, where the school roll is 577, 106 children were kept at home at least once.

A Paisley mother told the Express the level of absenteeism following covid cases in schools is “not surprising”.

Deborah Beggs said parents are worried about the spread of the virus.

Deborah, whose children attend covid-hit Williamsburgh Primary and Paisley Grammar, said: “Because of data protection, you’re not told what year group it is, what class it is, so it’s difficult.

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“People want to know what outbreaks are happening so they can make informed decisions. As a parent you need that information to make the right decisions for your child.

“So these figures really don’t surprise me.”

A spokesman for Renfrewshire Council said the absences covered everything from time off school for dentist appointments to full days.

He said: “In terms of the four schools referred to, absences because of covid – whether because of a positive test or a requirement to self-isolate – represent a small percentage of the total.

“Schools record absences for a wide range of reasons.

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“The total figures cover every pupil who was absent at least once, even where they were out of school for only part of a day. This could be for reasons such as doctor’s or other appointments.

“Schools across the country will have recorded higher-than-average rates of absence this term – as the rate of community transmission of the virus has increased, so will the numbers of people of all ages required to
self-isolate.”