Guarantee Covid tests for teachers and pupils ahead of schools return, government urged

The Liberal Democrats have written to Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi calling on him to provide a “cast-iron” guarantee that schools will be able to access Covid tests for teaching staff and pupils returning to the classroom next week. Without those tests available at the start of term, he risks breaking his promise to keep schools open.

It comes amid warnings from headteachers that difficulties getting hold of lateral flow tests could lead to school closures or children returning to online learning. Last month, the Government said all secondary school students in England will be asked to take a Covid test on site following the Christmas break.

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Munira Wilson MP said: “It would be unforgivable for ministers to do even more damage to our children’s futures and well-being through their own incompetence. Children have already borne the brunt of this pandemic because the government has failed to plan ahead and refused to invest in their education.

Munira Wilson

“Nadhim Zahawi must provide a cast-iron guarantee that every child and teacher who needs a Covid test will be able to access one on the first day of term, to avoid yet more disruption to schools next week.

“We cannot afford a repeat of last year’s fiasco when pupils returned for one day before being sent home again. Failure to plan properly for schools to return in January would be failing every child, parent and teacher. It’s time for the Government to make education a priority instead of treating our children as an afterthought.”

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