Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on a Department for Education email telling secondary schools to prepare to test their pupils on-site on return to school in January.
This afternoon, the Department for Education has sent an email telling secondary schools to prepare to test their pupils on-site on return to school in January. Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“We recognise the importance of Covid testing to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus, but it is not reasonable for the government to once again impose this considerable public health task on schools with minimal support.
“The role of schools should be limited to providing a space for test centres and communicating with students. But the government expects them also to handle the logistics of staffing and setting up testing stations. It seems to have forgotten that school leaders are educators rather than an ad hoc branch of the NHS. Their focus is on providing the teaching and learning required by their students, which is particularly important in the context of the disruption caused by the pandemic. The last thing they need is another huge responsibility which does not even fall within the remit of education.
“It is hardly the greatest timing either that this has been communicated in an email late on a Friday afternoon, and that they have been told that they will need to order sufficient test kits for this task by Tuesday, which seems an incredibly short timeframe.”