Fears have been raised that Shropshire schools could be forced to make redundancies as a result of the financial pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.

Schools remain closed to all but the most vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers, who were also taught over the Easter holidays.

But concerns have been raised that the costs incurred by the virus outbreak could leave some schools having to make difficult decisions in order to keep their budgets in check.

Councillor Roger Evans, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group on Shropshire Council, is pressing the authority to ease the strain by providing extra financial support.

In a question submitted ahead of the council’s first remote Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Councillor Evans said: “Schools remain closed except for certain categories of children. They also of course remained open over the Easter break.

“Our thanks go to all those staff who gave up their holidays to look after these children and so enabled their parents to continue working and caring for those in need.

“However extra unplanned costs have and are being incurred by schools, many of which were already planning to spend all their budget providing the education our children need.

“Is Shropshire Council planning to help those schools who are likely to overspend their budget, or will they be forced into making some staff redundant?”

Councillor Evans said schools needed urgent clarification on the matter.

He said: “A number are facing a big dilemma at present. They set their budgets and it looks at present as though many will be incurring extra expenditure and also a loss of income.

“They may well need to reduce their costs and this could well be by making staff redundant.

“It is unclear at present what if any help is to be given to them.

“Some cost incurred by staying open all over  Easter may be reimbursed by Government.

“There are however continuing costs and loss of income, for example the employment of kitchen staff and no income from serving school meals.

“If or when this loss will be reimbursed is not yet known. Schools will have to start making decision very soon in order to meet employment rules.”

The answer to Councillor Evans’ question will be given at Wednesday’s meeting, which begins at 11am. Members of the public will be able to listen live to the meeting through a link on the council’s website.