Coronavirus testing for secondary and college students in the first week of the spring term

On Thursday 17 December we announced that students in schools and colleges will be able to access free coronavirus testing from the week commencing 4 January. We provided resources for schools and training materials which include:

·        guidance on asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges which provides information for schools and colleges about how they can start to test pupils and students from January

·        guidance on what schools and childcare providers need to do at the start of the spring term, including information on the return of schools with secondary-age pupils and asymptomatic testing for coronavirus (COVID-19)

·        guidance to help further education (FE) providers put in place testing to ensure education resumes in January 2021

·        a live event for schools and colleges to provide more information on testing, which will include an opportunity to ask questions. Following the event, a copy of the questions asked will be made available, together with the responses.

We have also published a collection of guidance and support tools on asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges all in one place including:

·        a letter template to parents providing schools with suggested text that they can use to inform parents about testing and how it works to ensure they are able to make informed consent

·        a consent template to sit alongside the letter template for schools to issue to parents to provide their consent to their child (under 16) participating in the testing.

Responsibility for exams from January 2021

We have updated the school and college responsibility for exams from January 2021 setting out our expectation that schools and colleges will run exams from January 2021 onwards and to include public health guidance to support exams from January 2021.

The information below has not changed since our last update

Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline – opening hours

The Department for Education coronavirus (COVID-19) helpline is available to answer questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.

Please listen carefully to all of the available options before selecting the most appropriate option for your nursery, school, college or university.

Please select option 1 or 2 if you require specific advice on the action to take to respond to a positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in your setting. This option will take you through to a dedicated team of NHS Business Services Authority advisors who will work through a risk assessment with you to identify close contacts and will inform you what action is needed based on the latest public health advice.

Please select option 3 or 4 for any other questions about coronavirus (COVID-19) relating to education settings and children’s social care.

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 6pm

Look up your unique organisation number (UON)

If you have not received your unique organisation number (UON) for ordering new coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits you can can look it up using your unique reference number (URN) or your UK provider reference number (UKPRN) or by calling the Test and Trace helpdesk on 119.

Department for Education guidance

Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed using the links below:

·        Guidance for early years and childcare providers

·        Guidance for schools

·        Guidance for further and higher education providers

·        Guidance for local authority children’s services

·        Guidance for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings

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