The prevalence of coronavirus among school staff is up to four times higher than their local area average, the TES reports.

The data obtained by the NASUWT teaching union – from the three local authorities who agreed to provide it – undermines claims that teachers are at no greater risk of Covid than anyone else.

In Leeds last November the prevalence rate for secondary school staff was more than four times that of the general population.

And in Birmingham, the rate among school staff was more than three times higher than the local average.

In Greenwich, London, the prevalence rate was also significantly higher for school staff.

The union approached 28 councils for data, but only three provided data.

Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the NASUWT said the government's assertions that teachers are not at higher risk were "highly questionable" on the basis of the new data.

"The obvious reason why it is concerning is that since the start of the academic year, teachers, those working within schools, parents and the public have been told that schools are low-risk environments, and in the prime minister's words and the education secretary's words that schools are safe," he said.

"Well, that clearly is not the case. Unless, of course, strong mitigations are put into place.

"The reality also is, of course, that what happens in a school reflects what happens in local areas. There are levels of virus transmission in the locality, schools are not going to be immune from that.”