Education Secretary Defends System For Schools


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Education Secretary Defends System For Schools

England’s education secretary has defended the Covid-19 testing system for schools, saying they can now order tests from the NHS directly.

Gavin Williamson said schools were being prioritised, amid claims by head teachers of problems accessing tests.

He stressed pupils sent home due to a Covid-19 case at their school should only seek tests if they have symptoms.

Head teachers have written to the prime minister about their fears of further delays as virus cases rise.

In their letter, teaching unions also called for easier access to public health advice to deal with Coronavirus cases in schools.

‘Sense of foreboding’

The heads of the Association of School and College Leaders and the National Association of Head Teachers warned Boris Johnson of “a deep sense of foreboding” about further delays in the system and called on the government to step up.

Some schools in England had close their doors just after reopening, while others have told whole year groups or classes, which form “bubbles”, to self-isolate for two weeks following confirmed cases.

Mr Williamson told the education select committee direct access to the test-kit ordering system for schools came into effect on Wednesday morning, two weeks after the start of this term.

‘Prioritising schools’

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He told MPs: “We have always been conscious that, with children coming back into school, there was going to be a situation where people would need more access to testing.

“This was why we have ensured these deliveries of testing kits,” he said, and why “just this morning we have opened up the ordering system for schools”.

“The support that we are putting towards education – this is something quite unique – that schools can be able to pull that supply directly from the NHS.”

Education Secretary Defends System For Schools

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