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COVID-19 VACCINATION

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Please see below the current information regarding covid-19 vaccinations and testing

To view the covid-19 vaccination letter from the headteacher click here

Covid-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. 1 dose is being offered to children aged 12 to 15 to give them the best protection against COVID-19.
 

This includes children who turn 12 on the date of vaccination.

Some children are being offered 2 doses of a vaccine if either:

  • they live with someone who is more likely to get infections

  • they have a condition that means they're at high risk from COVID-19

Information:
 

Find out more about vaccination for children at high risk from COVID-19 on who can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
 

Why children are being offered a COVID-19 vaccine
 

COVID-19 is usually mild in most children, but it can make some children unwell. 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine gives good protection against your child getting seriously ill.
 

Vaccinating children can also help stop the spread of COVID-19 to other people, including within schools.


How and when children will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine
 

Most children will be given their vaccine at school during school hours. They will be given 1 dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

As a parent or guardian you will get a letter or email with information about when the vaccine will be offered, and you'll be asked to give consent.
 

All children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a vaccine this autumn.
 

If your child misses their COVID-19 vaccination, for any reason, they will be offered it again at a later date.

Children who do not go to school, for example if they are home-schooled, will also be offered a vaccine. You will be contacted about when and where your child can get one.

Information:
 

If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, they need to wait 4 weeks before they can have a COVID-19 vaccine.


What happens on the day of vaccination
 

School immunisation teams will visit your child's school to give the vaccine.

All children will be observed for 15 minutes after having the vaccination. This is in the unlikely event they have a serious reaction to the vaccine.

Research has found it's very rare to have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes.

Immunisation teams are trained to deal with reactions and treat them immediately.

 

COVID-19 vaccine safety

Millions of children around the world have had a COVID-19 vaccine.

The independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is safe and effective for children aged 12 to 15.

This followed an extensive review of the safety, quality and effectiveness of the vaccine in this age group.

The vaccine continues to be closely monitored to make sure it is safe and effective.

 

Side effects

Common side effects

Like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them.

Most side effects are mild and should only last 1 or 2 days, such as:

  • a sore arm from the injection

  • feeling tired

  • a headache

  • feeling achy

  • flu-like symptoms including shivering (chills)

Children should rest and you can give them paracetamol to help make them feel better.

 

Very rare side effects

There have been extremely rare reports of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) after COVID-19 vaccination. Most people who had this recovered following rest and simple treatments.

Go to A&E or call 999 if your child has any of these symptoms within a few days of being vaccinated:

  • chest pain

  • shortness of breath

  • a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart (palpitations)

 

COVID-19 vaccine ingredients

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine do

es not contain egg or animal products.

A Guide for Eligible Children and Young People Aged 12 to 17

What is COVID-19 or coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a very infectious respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Very few children and young people with COVID-19 infection go on to have severe disease.

There is no cure for COVID-19 although some newly tested treatments do help to reduce the risk of complications.

 

Eligibility and timing of vaccination

The NHS is offering COVID-19 vaccine to children and young people. All young people aged 12 to 17 years will be offered a first dose of vaccine. The timing of a second dose for these 12 to 17 year olds will be confirmed later.

Some young people are at greater risk of serious illness if they catch COVID-19. They will need 2 doses of vaccine, 8 weeks apart.

 

Risk of COVID-19 infection

The children and young people at greater risk include those living with serious conditions such as:

  • cancers (such as leukaemia or lymphoma)

  • diabetes

  • serious heart problems

  • chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including poorly controlled asthma

  • kidney, liver or a gut disease

  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (steroid medication, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)

  • an organ transplant

  • a neurodisability or neuromuscular condition

  • a severe or profound learning disability

  • Down’s syndrome

  • a problem with your spleen, for example sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed

  • epilepsy

  • serious genetic problems

  • other serious medical conditions as advised by your doctor or specialist

Your specialist or GP will tell you if you need the COVID-19 vaccination.

For most children and young people COVID-19 is usually a milder illness that rarely leads to complications. For a very few the symptoms may last for longer than the usual 2 to 3 weeks. The vaccination will help to protect you against COVID-19.

Currently the vaccine licensed for children and young people is the Pfizer vaccine. This is what you will be offered.

 

Protection from the vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. It may take a few weeks for your body to build up some protection from the vaccine. You should get good protection from the first dose. For those at risk, having a second dose should give you longer lasting protection.

Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe. Further information is available on symptoms on NHS.UK.

The vaccines do not contain organisms that grow in the body, and so are safe for children and young people with disorders of the immune system. These people may not respond so well to the vaccine but it should offer them protection against severe disease.

 

Consent

You will probably want to share information about the vaccine with your parents and discuss it together.

If you are being offered the vaccination at school, you may be given a consent form that your parent or guardian should sign giving permission for you to have the vaccination.

The nurse or GP will discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with you at your appointment and will be able to answer any questions you may have.

Side effects

Common side effects

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short term, and not everyone gets them. With the vaccine we use in under-18s, side effects are more common with the second dose.

 

Very common side effects include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1 to 2 days after the vaccination

  • feeling tired

  • headache

  • general aches, or mild flu like symptoms

You can rest and take paracetamol (follow the dose advice in the packaging) to help make you feel better. Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for 2 to 3 days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection. Symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, you or your parents can call NHS 111.

Less common side effects

Recently, cases of inflammation of the heart (called myocarditis or pericarditis) have been reported very rarely after COVID-19 vaccines.

Most of these cases have been in younger men and usually a few days after the second vaccination. Most people recovered and felt better following rest and simple treatments.

You should seek medical advice urgently if you experience:

  • chest pain

  • shortness of breath

  • feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart

If you or your parents or carers do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them about your vaccination (show them the vaccination card, if possible) so that they can assess you properly.

You or your parents and carers can also report suspected side effects to vaccines and medicines online through the coronavirus Yellow Card scheme.

Can you catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?

You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.

The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough

  • a high temperature

  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell If you have the symptoms above, stay at home and arrange to have a test

 

What to do next

After you have had the first dose you may be given a second appointment sometime later. Your record card will show the details of the first dose. Keep your record card safe.

You will be advised on the right timing for your second dose to help give the best, and longest lasting protection for you.

 

If you are not well when your appointment is due

You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self-isolating, waiting for a COVID-19 test or within 4 weeks of having a positive COVID-19 test.

How COVID-19 is spread

COVID-19 is spread through droplets breathed out from the nose or mouth, particularly when speaking or coughing.

It can also be picked up by touching your eyes, nose and mouth after contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.

You must still follow any national or local restrictions and:

  • where advised wear a face mask

  • wash your hands regularly

  • open windows to let fresh air in

  • follow the current guidance

Covid-19 Vaccination advice for children and young people

Click here to see covid-19 vaccination advice for children and young people. To view this in other languages click here.

Education Hub Article on Covid-19 Testing

A joint letter to parents of secondary school and college students in England on Covid-19 testing and vaccines from the Secretaries of State for Education and for Health and Social Care.

We know that children and young people have been hugely affected by the pandemic, both in terms of their education and their ability to socialise and participate in activities that benefit them outside of formal education.
 

We want to thank you as parents and guardians of secondary school and college students for your support over the last eighteen months. We know this time has been difficult for many of you, as well as for the young people you care for.

As students return to the classroom, we would ask for your continued support to make sure your children are able to stay in face-to-face learning, by encouraging them to:
 

  • test themselves for COVID-19 twice a week, and more frequently if they are specifically asked to do so. This way, we can find individuals who have the virus but are not showing symptoms, and stop them from passing it on to others.

  • come forward for the COVID-19 vaccine. This is one of the best things young people can do to protect themselves and those around them.
     

We know that students have missed a lot of time in school and college since the pandemic started, and that there is no substitute for face-to-face learning. Keeping students in the classroom in the coming months is therefore a Government priority, both for their immediate and longer-term wellbeing.
 

We know that some of you will be concerned about the health risks to the young people you care for. We want to reassure you that the evidence shows that young people remain at very low risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
 

However, we need to continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Young people who get ill will need to miss school or college, and may spread it to others. That is why we are encouraging you all to support your children to get vaccinated and to continue to test regularly. This will help to detect cases early, reduce spread, and keep students in education.
 

Vaccination
 

Vaccines are our best defence against COVID-19. They help protect young people, and benefit those around them. Vaccination makes people less likely to catch the virus and less likely to pass it on.
 

The COVID-19 vaccination programme for children aged 12-15 years has now started. Thousands of young people across the country have already taken the opportunity to receive their vaccine. If your child is 12-15 years old, a consent form and information leaflet from the NHS will be sent home allowing you to provide consent for your child to receive their vaccination at school
 

We remind you that 16- and 17-year-olds can book their vaccination through the National Booking Service or find a convenient walk-in site. Please do help your 16- and 17-year-olds to book a vaccination for yourself if you have not done so already, or if you have missed a second dose.


Testing
 

We ask that you support and encourage your children to test twice a week at home, every week, with Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. This will help us reduce the transmission of COVID-19 among our children. Please report and upload test results online, even if they are negative or void, as this allows us to understand the virus and take additional action when needed.

In addition to regular twice weekly testing:
 

  • Children who receive a positive LFD result should isolate and book a PCR test to confirm their result.

  • Children who are identified as a close contact by NHS Test and Trace should take a PCR test and continue to go to school while they wait for their result.

  • In response to potential outbreaks, your school, college or local health team may advise additional testing. For example, if your child is identified as a close contact, they may be asked to take daily LFDs, while they wait for their PCR result. In this scenario, they should continue to attend school as long as their LFD results remain negative.


Additionally, please encourage your child to follow guidance on wearing face coverings in crowded spaces with people they don't know well, for example on school transport.
 

We know that many of you will have questions or concerns about this, and we understand that. The NHS website (www.nhs.uk) is an excellent source of advice, which we hope will be able to answer many of your questions about testing or vaccination. If not, you can call the 119 service who should be able to help with questions on testing. When you get a vaccination consent form for your child, it will include details of how you can ask further questions of your local teams.

Thank you again for your support
.

Here are some frequently answered questions for parents, from Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UK Health Security Agency
 

Why do young people aged 12 to 15 years need to get the vaccine?
 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection is typically mild in most young people, but it can be very unpleasant for some and one dose of the vaccine will provide good protection against severe illness and hospitalisation.
 

Vaccinating 12 to 15 year olds also helps reduce the need for young people to have time off school and reduces the risk of spread of COVID-19 within schools. The vaccine will protect young people from COVID-19 and reduce disruption to education, which is good for their welfare and mental health.
 

Why did the JCVI say young people didn’t need the vaccine?
 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) looked at the direct health benefits of vaccines, and in the case of 12 to 15 year olds, they said that there was only a small advantage for young people in getting a dose of the vaccine.

The Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) took into account the extra health benefits from avoiding children missing education and concluded that there were public health grounds to recommend vaccinating 12 to 15 year olds. The UK CMOs' advice sets out their reasoning here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-vaccination-of-children-and-young-people-aged-12-to-15-years-against-covid-19
 

My child has already had COVID-19 - should they still get the vaccine?
 

Yes, they should be vaccinated regardless of whether they have already had a COVID-19 infection because:

  • research has not yet shown how long people who have had COVID-19 are protected from getting it again after they recover

  • vaccination helps to boost your protection, even if you’ve already had COVID-19


Has the vaccine been given to 12 to 15 year olds in other countries?
 

Trials in thousands of children have shown that the vaccine works very well in this age group. The vaccine has since been given to millions of 12 to 15 year olds in a number of countries, including 8 million in the United States. Data from these countries show that the vaccine has a good safety record.
 

Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause heart problems in young people?
 

Worldwide, there have been very rare cases of inflammation of the heart called myocarditis or pericarditis reported after COVID-19 vaccines. Most of these young people felt better following rest and simple treatments. These cases have been seen mostly in younger males and mainly occurred within a few days of the second dose; it is extremely rare after the first dose of the vaccine.


Is the vaccine safe for children with allergies or other medical conditions?
 

There are very few children or young people who cannot receive the vaccine. If in doubt, young people and their parents or carers should check with the school immunisation team or consult their GP or specialist clinician.


I have seen fake stories on social media about the vaccine
 

You may have come across false or misleading information about the virus or the vaccine. It is important that you get your information from trusted sources such as:
 

The children’s programme information
 

The parents' guide is on the link below with the guidance for schools: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-resources-for-schools

To view the above in different languages please click below:

 ArabicChinesePortugueseUrduAlbanian, Bengali, Brazilian Portuguese, BulgarianEstonianFarsiGreekGujaratiHindiLatvian, Lithuanian, Panjabi, Pashto, Polish, RomanianRomanyRussianSomaliSpanishTagalon, Turkish, Twi, Ukrainian, Yiddish

Here is the leaflet for the children and parents: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-resources-for-children-and-young-people

To view the above in different languages please click below:

ArabicChinesePortugueseUrdu,  Albanian, Bengali, Brazilian Portuguese, BulgarianEstonianFarsiGreekGujaratiHindi, Latvian,LithuanianPanjabPashtPolishRomaniaRomanyRussian, 

Further information can be found here: www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccine-children.

Increased frequency of LFD testing for children, young people and staff in schools and FE Providers – FAQs 

Key Messages
 

  • Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing. Regular LFD Testing and reporting of test results is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 and support the continuation of face-to-face education. 

  • Increasing the frequency of asymptomatic LFD testing is a useful tool when we have a rise in cases and may have an outbreak, or high prevalence of COVID-19 in a local area., This might be recommended by local Directors of Public Health (DsPH) or health protection teams (HPTs). 

  • It allows us to identify asymptomatic cases within a targeted group and ensure students can continue face-to-face education. 

  • Increased testing supports the aim of balancing the risks associated with COVID-19 whilst moving to a place that minimises the burden of implementing a system of controls on staff and parents and the impact those measures have on young people’s educational experience. 

 

What is increased frequency of LFD testing? 
 

  • • Increased use of asymptomatic LFD testing is a tool that local health teams can advise in educational settings in response to outbreaks (in individual settings or across a cluster settings) or in areas of high prevalence. The options include: o Close contact/household daily LFD testing may be advised by local health teams for secondary schools aged pupils and FE students (and staff) in households of close contacts (identified by NHS Test and Trace), while they await the results of a PCR test. 

  • o Local health teams may also advise that primary schools can also suggest their pupils and staff who are identified by NHS Test & Trace as close or household contacts to undertake daily LFD testing while awaiting the results of a PCR. This is left to parental discretion, and test kits for primary aged pupils can be accessed via gov.uk or their local pharmacy. 

  •  

 

Close contact/ household testing 
 

Outbreak testing 
 

  • Increased frequency of LFD testing, including daily testing for a group or cohort in secondary schools or FE provider (which can include staff) where case numbers are very high. If daily testing is advised it should be done for a minimum of 5 days, increasing to 7 days to ensure the final test is taken on a school day. o A one-off round of LFD testing for a wider group or cohort in a secondary school or FE provider. 
  • In all cases, students and pupils should continue to attend school or FE provider if they have a negative test result.
  • Participants will be asked to undertake increased frequency of LFD testing at home. 

 

When is increased frequency of LFD testing needed?

  • If a Director of Public Health (DPH) decides, in consultation with the setting, to recommend increased LFD testing, in response to outbreaks or in areas of high prevalence, the DPH will agree this with the education setting and may write a letter to the pupils/students/parents/workforce or the education setting. 

  • All individuals who are identified by NHS Test & Trace as close contacts of a confirmed case are strongly advised to take a PCR test. 

  • Public health teams may also recommend that close or household contacts (identified by NHS Test & Trace) who are exempt from self-isolation due to their age (those aged 18 and 6 months and under) or vaccination status (two doses of the vaccination) take daily LFD tests while awaiting the results of a PCR test and only attend schools/FE provider if the LFD is negative. 

 

How and when will test kits be provided? 

  • If asked to undertake increased frequency of LFD testing, schools and FE providers should review their existing stocks of self-test kits first. It may be that a setting will have sufficient supplies of test kits already to begin increased testing. 

  • If more test kits are required, schools and FE providers should place an order as soon as possible via the online ordering platform. (Remember the standard delivery timescales – orders placed by 5pm on a Tuesday will be delivered in the following week.) 

  • Schools and FE providers should also liaise with their Local Authority/Director of Public Health to understand if there is excess stock available to support additional testing. 

  • If a school or FE provider requires additional test kits sooner than can be fulfilled via the standard re-ordering process, or will run out of test kits imminently, as a last resort they should contact 119 to request an emergency replenishment. 

 

How will increased frequency of LFD testing work in specialist settings and for pupils/students with SEND? 

  • In recognition of the additional considerations specialist settings have to take into account when delivering rapid asymptomatic testing, additional guidance is available for these settings and pupils with special needs. 

  • We recognise the difficulty of LFD swab testing for children and young people with SEND. Nasal only swabs may be more tolerable and specialist settings have the option of ordering extra nasal only test kits (Orient Gene and Acon Flow Flex). 

  • Special settings have a range of staff to meet different health needs and who have had training to help with taking swabs for those who cannot self-administer. Settings can also have parents/carers assist with swabbing on-site or at home. Support is also available from Medacs Healthcare. 

  • We are continuing to explore other approaches to testing for children and young people who are unable to have a throat and/or nasal swab. 

 

Will increased frequency of LFD testing be used for outbreaks in primary settings? 

  • Public health advice from UK Health Security Agency advises that there are limited public health benefits attached to regularly testing younger children with LFD coronavirus (COVID-19) tests. We therefore don’t suggest routine asymptomatic testing of primary aged pupils. 

  • Local health teams can agree with primary schools to advise their students/pupils who are identified by NHS Test & Trace as close contacts to undertake daily LFD testing. Testing primary aged children is left to parental discretion, and test kits for primary aged pupils can be accessed via gov.uk or their local pharmacy. 

 

How is increased frequency of LFD testing different to regular twice weekly testing? 

  • Increased frequency of LFD testing is an additional measure implemented on the recommendation of the DPH/HPT as a response to outbreak management or areas of high prevalence and will not replace the current programme of twice weekly testing. 

 

Will increased frequency of LFD testing be compulsory? 

  • All testing, whether as part of the regular programme for educational settings, or as part of an increased frequency of LFD testing intervention is voluntary. If consent has not been given, testing should not take place. If consent has been given but the child or young people refuses to test, testing should not take place. 

 

What about boarding schools or residential settings where they have a higher number of household contacts- will increased frequency of LFD testing be used in these settings? 

  • Due to the nature of residential settings such as boarding schools, increased frequency of LFD testing is recommended where there is high prevalence. Settings should discuss any additional measures with their DPH or Public Health Team. 

 

Should siblings of positive cases (or household contacts) isolate? 

  • In an outbreak situation, or in areas of high prevalence, local directors of public health and health protection teams can implement daily LFD testing for secondary aged or FE students in households or close contacts (identified by NHS Test and Trace) while they wait for the results of the PCR test. They may also advise for primary school pupils to undertake daily LFD testing, however this is left to parental discretion. 

 Testing in Secondary Schools and Colleges 

 What are the objectives of the Government’s asymptomatic testing strategy in education settings? 

  • Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing. Regular LFD Testing and reporting of test results is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 and support the continuation of face-to-face education. 

  • Increasing the frequency of asymptomatic LFD testing is a useful tool when we have a rise in cases and may have an outbreak, or high prevalence of COVID-19 in a local area., This might be recommended by local Directors of Public Health (DsPH) or health protection teams (HPTs). 

  • It allows us to identify asymptomatic cases within a targeted group and ensure students can continue face-to-face education. 

  • Increased testing supports the aim of balancing the risks associated with COVID-19 whilst moving to a place that minimises the burden of implementing a system of controls on staff and parents and the impact those measures have on young people’s educational experience. 

 

What is increased frequency of LFD testing? 
 

  • • Increased use of asymptomatic LFD testing is a tool that local health teams can advise in educational settings in response to outbreaks (in individual settings or across a cluster settings) or in areas of high prevalence. The options include: o Close contact/household daily LFD testing may be advised by local health teams for secondary schools aged pupils and FE students (and staff) in households of close contacts (identified by NHS Test and Trace), while they await the results of a PCR test. 

  • o Local health teams may also advise that primary schools can also suggest their pupils and staff who are identified by NHS Test & Trace as close or household contacts to undertake daily LFD testing while awaiting the results of a PCR. This is left to parental discretion, and test kits for primary aged pupils can be accessed via gov.uk or their local pharmacy. 

  •  

 

Close contact/ household testing 
 

Outbreak testing 
 

  • Increased frequency of LFD testing, including daily testing for a group or cohort in secondary schools or FE provider (which can include staff) where case numbers are very high. If daily testing is advised it should be done for a minimum of 5 days, increasing to 7 days to ensure the final test is taken on a school day. o A one-off round of LFD testing for a wider group or cohort in a secondary school or FE provider. 
  • In all cases, students and pupils should continue to attend school or FE provider if they have a negative test result.
  • Participants will be asked to undertake increased frequency of LFD testing at home. 

 

When is increased frequency of LFD testing needed?

  • If a Director of Public Health (DPH) decides, in consultation with the setting, to recommend increased LFD testing, in response to outbreaks or in areas of high prevalence, the DPH will agree this with the education setting and may write a letter to the pupils/students/parents/workforce or the education setting. 

  • All individuals who are identified by NHS Test & Trace as close contacts of a confirmed case are strongly advised to take a PCR test. 

  • Public health teams may also recommend that close or household contacts (identified by NHS Test & Trace) who are exempt from self-isolation due to their age (those aged 18 and 6 months and under) or vaccination status (two doses of the vaccination) take daily LFD tests while awaiting the results of a PCR test and only attend schools/FE provider if the LFD is negative. 

 

How and when will test kits be provided? 

  • If asked to undertake increased frequency of LFD testing, schools and FE providers should review their existing stocks of self-test kits first. It may be that a setting will have sufficient supplies of test kits already to begin increased testing. 

  • If more test kits are required, schools and FE providers should place an order as soon as possible via the online ordering platform. (Remember the standard delivery timescales – orders placed by 5pm on a Tuesday will be delivered in the following week.) 

  • Schools and FE providers should also liaise with their Local Authority/Director of Public Health to understand if there is excess stock available to support additional testing. 

  • If a school or FE provider requires additional test kits sooner than can be fulfilled via the standard re-ordering process, or will run out of test kits imminently, as a last resort they should contact 119 to request an emergency replenishment. 

 

How will increased frequency of LFD testing work in specialist settings and for pupils/students with SEND? 

  • In recognition of the additional considerations specialist settings have to take into account when delivering rapid asymptomatic testing, additional guidance is available for these settings and pupils with special needs. 

  • We recognise the difficulty of LFD swab testing for children and young people with SEND. Nasal only swabs may be more tolerable and specialist settings have the option of ordering extra nasal only test kits (Orient Gene and Acon Flow Flex). 

  • Special settings have a range of staff to meet different health needs and who have had training to help with taking swabs for those who cannot self-administer. Settings can also have parents/carers assist with swabbing on-site or at home. Support is also available from Medacs Healthcare. 

  • We are continuing to explore other approaches to testing for children and young people who are unable to have a throat and/or nasal swab. 

 

Will increased frequency of LFD testing be used for outbreaks in primary settings? 

  • Public health advice from UK Health Security Agency advises that there are limited public health benefits attached to regularly testing younger children with LFD coronavirus (COVID-19) tests. We therefore don’t suggest routine asymptomatic testing of primary aged pupils. 

  • Local health teams can agree with primary schools to advise their students/pupils who are identified by NHS Test & Trace as close contacts to undertake daily LFD testing. Testing primary aged children is left to parental discretion, and test kits for primary aged pupils can be accessed via gov.uk or their local pharmacy. 

 

How is increased frequency of LFD testing different to regular twice weekly testing? 

  • Increased frequency of LFD testing is an additional measure implemented on the recommendation of the DPH/HPT as a response to outbreak management or areas of high prevalence and will not replace the current programme of twice weekly testing. 

 

Will increased frequency of LFD testing be compulsory? 

  • All testing, whether as part of the regular programme for educational settings, or as part of an increased frequency of LFD testing intervention is voluntary. If consent has not been given, testing should not take place. If consent has been given but the child or young people refuses to test, testing should not take place. 

 

What about boarding schools or residential settings where they have a higher number of household contacts- will increased frequency of LFD testing be used in these settings? 

  • Due to the nature of residential settings such as boarding schools, increased frequency of LFD testing is recommended where there is high prevalence. Settings should discuss any additional measures with their DPH or Public Health Team. 

 

Should siblings of positive cases (or household contacts) isolate? 

  • In an outbreak situation, or in areas of high prevalence, local directors of public health and health protection teams can implement daily LFD testing for secondary aged or FE students in households or close contacts (identified by NHS Test and Trace) while they wait for the results of the PCR test. They may also advise for primary school pupils to undertake daily LFD testing, however this is left to parental discretion. 

 

 

To view the asymptomatic testing FAQs click here

ACLP / ITP Webinar Q&A

 What is the testing programme and how do we access it? Is there any guidance available? 

Twice weekly rapid asymptomatic testing is now available for all staff and students in ITPs and ACLPs who need to attend on site for work or education. Since the 25th of March, home test kits for students and staff can be ordered link. Providers will need to submit the numbers of staff and students that tests will be offered to and should consider attendance and likely uptake when placing an order. The full policy guidance is available on gov.uk [link]. 

Detailed, practical guidance on asymptomatic home testing is also available to view on our [document sharing platform – add link]. This includes: 

  • • guidance to support testing for staff and students, including a ‘How to Guide’. 

  • • in-depth information and videos on how to self-test from home 

  • • resources such as webinar recordings, posters and letter templates for you to use for your students, parents and stakeholders. 

  • • frequently asked questions 

 

Do students in our setting need to complete a consent form prior to participating in testing? 

By collecting and opening the test at home test kits, the individual’s consent is implied, and they commit to reporting their results via the NHS Test and Trace reporting system. 

Does twice a week testing apply to full time students and so should be adjusted for part time students? 

All students regularly attending their provider onsite should conduct testing at home, twice a week, 3-4 days apart, regardless of whether they attend one day per week, or five Regular testing plays an important role in helping to stop transmission of the virus. However, if staff and students already have access to regular testing in their workplace, they should continue to access testing through this route. 

What if a learner is only attending one session/day a week or a tutor is only tutoring one day a week? Do they still need to test twice a week? 

All students regularly attending their provider onsite should conduct testing

 

at home, twice a week, 3-4 days apart, regardless of whether they attend one day per week, or five. Regular testing plays an important role in helping to stop transmission of the virus. 

Is there any funding to support the key activities for testing? 

The home testing offer is intended to make the process as simple to manage as possible, minimising the demands placed on provider's workforces to deliver their staff and student testing programme. The responsibilities of the programme (Covid Coordinator and Registration Assistant) are intended to be integrated within existing staff or volunteer structures. We do not expect additional staffing costs to be incurred, as the administrative requirements for providers are relatively light and there is no additional equipment required to administer the tests. Therefore, there is no additional funding available to distribute home testing. 

 

Can we only ask students and staff to test, or can we make it mandatory? 

Testing is voluntary, but staff and students are strongly encouraged to participate in testing regularly, as this helps to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community by identifying those that may be carrying the virus unknowingly. Individuals should be allowed to attend their education setting even if they decide not to take part in testing. 

By collecting and opening the test at home test kits, the individual’s consent is implied, and they commit to reporting their results via the NHS Test and Trace reporting system. There is no need to specifically record individuals’ consent for test at home. Please make sure that staff and students understand they do not give written consent for home testing and ensure they are issued with the privacy notice for test at home. 

Do people who have been vaccinated need to test? 

Yes, we do not yet know whether vaccines prevent individuals transmitting the virus. If staff/students have been vaccinated, they should continue to get tested and follow national guidelines. The vaccine does not interfere with the antigen LFD or PCR tests. 

Testing should continue even for those who have been vaccinated. Clinical trial evidence demonstrates that the vaccine reduces clinically severe infection and severe disease. The impact of the vaccine on preventing transmission remains under review and individuals who have been vaccinated may still carry and be able to transmit the virus. 

We advise anyone who has been vaccinated to continue to observe national lockdown restrictions and engage with asymptomatic LFD and PCR testing if appropriate.

 

As an independent training provider, we do not currently have any training on site, but our apprenticeship tutors need to go into schools for their apprentices. Are we still eligible for Testing Kits? 

Schools and FE providers should offer testing to all staff who travel into schools and colleges, including teaching and non-teaching staff members, such as support staff, clinical practitioners, and therapists. Non-permanent members of staff should also be offered testing. However, if staff and students already have access to regular testing in their workplace, they should continue to access testing through this route. 

I want to order test kits on the online portal but not sure which option to select? 

On the online portal and go to the ‘Test kit options’ page, select the option of ‘Lateral flow tests for home testing’ and click ‘Place order’. 

Once test kits have been received; are we permitted to post the kits to home addresses rather than have people travelling into a location? 

If a provider requires kits to be delivered to alternative or additional site, they must contact 119 and provide the new address details. 

Can kits be ordered and sent to alternative addresses? We are in a rented space and it has limited opening hours for post/couriers. 

If a provider requires kits to be delivered to alternative or additional site, they must contact 119 and provide the new address details. 

 

We subcontract our adult learning provision. Will we need to order the kits on behalf of our providers, or will they be able to order the kits in their own name to their community premises? 

The responsibility for testing rests with the provider that has the contract with ESFA. Where providers operate sub-contracted provision, they can either order test kits for ALL students and make their own arrangements to students at subcontractors to collect them; or they can register the subcontractor as a separate address so that deliveries can be made directly to the subcontractor. Whichever option is chosen, it remains the responsibility of the provider to order the test kits and ensure that students and staff have access to testing. 

If a provider requires kits to be delivered to alternative or additional site, they must contact 119 and provide the new address details. There is, however, no need for providers to test staff or students that already have access to rapid testing i.e., through their workplace. Therefore, where subcontractors already have testing arrangements in place that are accessible to students, this should be the testing solution used and providers should not need to order tests for those students.