16 December 2020 Children and learning

Schools Covid testing – give schools the staff and funding they need 

Brighton & Hove’s lead councillor for schools has urged the government to confirm funding arrangements for the Covid-19 testing programme in secondary schools due to start in January.
 
Councillor Hannah Clare is chair of the council’s Children, Young People and Skills committee. She said: “I wrote to the government last month calling for schools to have regular access to rapid testing.
 
“So I welcome the fact that they have finally recognised the need for this.
 
“But yesterday’s announcement is putting huge extra pressures on headteachers at the last minute, without any detail about the financial and operational support behind it.
 
“A headteacher recently told me that the wellbeing of headteachers in our city has never been lower. 
 
“The pressure they are dealing with is immense and they are seeing demands like never before.
 
“School staff should not be expected to run these tests. Providing testing kits without trained staff to use them is simply not right.
 
“There has also been no concrete information yet about how schools are expected to pay for the delivery of this testing programme. 
 
“The government is still failing to recognise how their demands are affecting schools. 
 
“We need immediate answers about how this scheme is going to be funded and staffed.
 
“Our schools are under intense financial pressures. It’s vital that they are not forced to divert any more scarce resources away from their core work of delivering the curriculum.”