Home testing for pupils
March 9, 2021
If you would like your child to be given home test kits, please email email@example.com
Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing. This is because they have no symptoms. To reduce the spread of the virus, we need to identify those individuals. We can do this in school by carrying out tests at home twice every week, 3-4 days apart.
The Government has recently announced that all secondary and college aged students will be offered tests to on their return to school.
Testing students at home
We understand that each child has individual needs. Many children will adapt to testing becoming part of their routine, others will find it more challenging. Taking part in testing is voluntary and all children will be able to attend school whether they take part or not. We hope that the option to take the test in the morning or the evening will support families to test at home.
If you would like your child to be given home test kits, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We would like them to take their tests on Sunday PM/Monday AM and Wednesday PM/Thursday AM.
Tests are free of charge. Your child will receive a pack of 3 or 7 in a box with a leaflet on how to take the test and report the results.
Make sure you have enough time to do the test before going to school. Preferably this would be in the morning before going into school/college. However, we understand that for some people this may be challenging. Therefore, tests can be taken the evening before school if needed. You need to report test results.
Taking the test
Your child should take the test twice a week, before coming into school the night before. A leaflet giving instructions on how to do the test will be given with the test kit. There is also a useful video to show you how to take the test here.
Help and support is available, including instructions in different languages on how to test and report the results and a video showing you how to take the test.
There is no need to keep used test equipment. After the test result has been reported, you can put it in your normal bin (household waste).
What should you do after the LFD test?
If your child tests positive, they, their household, any support bubbles they are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days.
You need to report the positive result to both NHS Test and Trace and school.
You should order a confirmatory PCR test as soon as possible.
If the result of the test is void you should report the result to NHS Test and Trace and school then do another test.
Negative results should be reported to NHS Test & Trace but not school.
A negative result does not guarantee that you are not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow social distancing, and other measures to reduce transmission such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing your hands and observing social distancing.
If you or anyone in your household gets symptoms of the virus you should follow national guidelines on self-isolation and testing.
Why testing is important
Taking part in testing is voluntary and all children will be able to attend school whether they take part in testing or not.
I am strongly encouraging all children to take part. Testing at home will allow your child and other children to attend school and help to reduce the spread of the virus.
Please email email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns about home testing.
Thank you for your support.
Some frequently asked questions
Do I need to give consent?
Students and parents do not give written consent to take part in the home testing programme. Please read the information below on how personal information and test results are shared and the privacy notice enclosed.
Can my child take the test themselves?
Students aged 18 and over should do the test themselves and report the result, with help if they need it.
Students aged 12-17 should do the test themselves with adult supervision. The adult may help the student to take the test if they need support.
Students aged 11 must be tested by an adult and the adult must report the result.
Reporting problems or issues with testing
If there is an issue with the test kit, for example something is missing, please report it by calling 119 and please also tell the school.
If an accident or injury happens whilst using the test kit, please seek medical care by calling 111 (or 999 if it is an emergency). Please also report what happened using this website: https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/
What type of tests will be used?
We will be sending home Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. They are a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.
The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes.
Are LFD tests accurate?
Lateral Flow Devices identify people who are likely to be infectious. These individuals tend to spread the virus to many people and so identifying them through this test is important.
These tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals and are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The speed and convenience of the tests supports the detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals, who would not otherwise have got tested.
The tests are highly specific, with low chance of false positives. They are also very sensitive and are able to identify the majority of the most infectious yet asymptomatic individuals. Extensive evaluation has been carried out on the tests and it shows that they are both accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes.
It is important to remember that these tests are only an aid to help stop the spread of the virus and you should continue to follow other guidance such as on wearing face coverings and social distancing.
How are LFD tests different to PCR tests?
There are 2 main types of test to check if you have coronavirus:
- polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample – you send the sample for processing at a lab
- lateral flow device (LFD) tests detect proteins called ‘antigens’ produced by the virus – LFD tests give rapid results, in 30 minutes after taking the test.
What does it mean if my child has a positive result?
If your child has a positive antigen LFD test result they, their household and any support bubbles they are part of should self-isolate immediately in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance for 10 days. You need to report your result to both NHS Test & Trace and your school.
You should order a confirmatory PCR test if you are testing at home.
You can book a test here.
What does it mean if my child has a negative result?
A negative result does not guarantee that your child is not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow social distancing, and other measures to reduce transmission such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing your hands.
What if my child has a void result?
If the result of the test is unclear (void), they should do another one. If the next test is also void, your child should take a PCR test. You can book a test here.
All void test results need to be reported to both NHS Test & Trace and school.
Do I need to send the test to a lab?
No. The LFDs supplied do not need to be sent to a laboratory to get a result and can give a quick result in around 30 minutes. Guidance on self-testing is contained in the ‘Instructions for Use’ leaflet, which comes with the test kit. There is also a useful video to show you how to administer the test here.
Can I or someone else in my household use a test kit sent home from school?
No, however whole families and households with primary school, secondary school, and college age children, including childcare and support bubbles, will be able to test themselves twice every week from home. This testing can be accessed through the following channels:
- get a rapid test at work, through workplace testing. Ask your employer for more information
- attend a test site to get tested where you will be able to see how to take the test or pick up tests to do at home (you can find your nearest test site via the postcode checker gov.uk/find-covid-19-lateral-flow-test-site or check your local council website)
- collect tests to do at home, find your nearest collection site COVID Test Finder (test-and-trace.nhs.uk)
If these options are not possible, there will be a supply of rapid tests for order online for people who need them the most. More information can be found on www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
What if my child cannot tolerate a swab down their throat, perhaps due to their disability?
A child or young person may find it difficult to take a throat swab due, for example, to their having difficulty in understanding instructions, needing to keep their mouth open during the period of swabbing or they are having a strong gag reflex. In such cases, where a combined nose and throat swab is not possible, a nose swab from both nostrils can be taken. Similarly, if reason a nasal swab is not feasible, a throat swab alone will suffice.
How do I swab my child?
If you are assisting with swabbing as your child needs support, for example due to their special education needs or disability, you can find guidance on doing this here – https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/934735/coronavirus_test_guide_how_to_test_on_a_child.pdf
How will personal information and test results be shared?
When your child takes an LFD test, you need to report the result. This is so that their test result can be traced, which means that you need to share some information about your child.
You need to tell the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC):
- your child’s name
- your child’s test result
- the reference number on the test Kit
You will also need to tell your child’s school or college their test result.
Under UK law, your child’s school or college can collect and store test result data because it is in the ‘public interest’.
Schools and colleges will only share information with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) if the test kits used are found to be faulty. If this happens, DHSC will use our information to contact people who used the faulty tests, so that they can be tested again.
When you report test results online, you are sharing information with DHSC. They may share the information with your GP, local government, NHS, and Public Health England. This is so that they can offer your family health services and guidance if your child needs to self-isolate. They might also use your child’s data anonymously (without their name or contact information) to research COVID-19, and improve our understanding of the virus.