Schools - coronavirus
Get a rapid test (Lateral Flow Device test)
As schools are returning to on-site provision from March 8, the government has reviewed its guidance and provision on asymptomatic testing for school-age children, their families and childcare bubble/support bubble.
Secondary age (year 7+) pupils will be asked to complete regular Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests (consent must be provided for all pupils under the age of 16).
If your child is in year 7 and above, they will be asked to take their first 3 rapid (LFD) tests as they return to their school. After this, your child’s school will provide testing kits for them to use at home. You do not need to do anything to receive these test kits, the school will give them to your child to bring home and instructions on how to complete the test will be provided.
Primary-age school children will not be asked to take part in the asymptomatic rapid testing programme at this time, though you should still get a standard (PCR) test kit if they have coronavirus symptoms.
All school and college staff will be able to take part in their setting’s testing programme, this includes adults working in the wider school community, including bus drivers and after school club leaders.
You can now get a twice-weekly rapid test for coronavirus if you a member of a household with primary school, secondary school and college age children, or if you’re in a childcare bubble or support bubble with school staff or pupils.
Your child’s school or college will not be able to give you a rapid test kit. Instead, if you are eligible, you can now access test kits:
- via your employer, if they offer testing to employees (contact them to find out)
- at one of our 3 local test sites which are open 8am until 8pm
- by collecting a home test kit from a test site
- by ordering a home test kit online
Lateral Flow Device (LFD) or rapid tests can provide results usually within 30 minutes. With around one in three people who have coronavirus showing no symptoms, this testing is vital to help identify more people who have COVID-19 and help to reduce the spread of the virus, as they will know to self-isolate.
Support for children who don’t have access to technology
The Department for Education (DfE) is continuing to provide tablets and laptops to schools to support children who are unable to work remotely because they do have access to the relevant technology. We are still awaiting further information about eligibility criteria for the scheme, but if technology is a barrier then please make your child’s school aware in the first instance.
The DfE is also introducing a scheme that will allow schools to apply for mobile phone data for disadvantaged pupils in years 3 to 11 who do not have internet access for remote learning. Where this is not appropriate, schools may be able to apply for 4G routers. Parents should contact their children’s schools in the first instance.
As a precautionary measure, adults and students in secondary schools are asked to wear face coverings indoors, in classrooms and where social distancing is not possible. Students do not need to wear face coverings when they are outdoors on the school grounds or during PE lessons. Some individuals are exempt from wearing a face covering.
In primary schools face coverings should be worn by staff and adult visitors where social distancing between adults is not possible. The measure is not advised for primary school children due to lower infection rates and limited evidence of transmission in these settings.
Changes to the Test and Trace support payment for parents
The Department for Education has announced that parents and carers of children, who have been advised to self-isolate by their education setting or by NHS Test and Trace, are now able to apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment, or a discretionary payment of £500, if they meet the eligibility criteria.
The extension of the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme ensures that parents receive the financial support they need if they are unable to attend work due to childcare responsibilities.
If you are a parent or carer, apply here in order to receive a payment.
When to get a test
Your child should get a COVID-19 test if they have any of the following main symptoms:
- new, continuous cough
- high fever or temperature
- loss or change of taste or smell
COVID-19 tests are only for those people displaying one or more of the main symptoms.
How to get a test
If your child has any of these symptoms, then they should:
- get a test as soon as possible, to check if they have coronavirus
- follow the government's guidance to stay at home and do not have visitors until you get the test result (only leave your home to have a test); anyone you live with, and anyone in your support bubble, must also stay at home until you get your result
- tell the school
For most people, COVID-19 will be a mild illness, but it’s important to follow this guidance to help stop the spread.
Don't call 111
Don't call 111 if you need a test. Find out how to get a test.
111 should be used for those who need urgent medical advice. It cannot be used to arrange coronavirus testing.
Test availability is refreshed throughout the day, if tests are not available near you, please try again later.
School admission appeals
Find out how school admission appeals are affected, in light of government advice.
Advice for parents and carers
You may have many questions about everything that is happening at the moment. We have put together a page of useful resources that can help you find information and advice on topics such as childcare, health and wellbeing, critical workers, school opening and transport, family information and more.