Comment on Department for Education announcement on mass testing...

Gail Tolley, Chair of the Educational Achievement Policy Committee said:

“The roll out of mass testing across all secondary schools and colleges will be a positive step to help reduce the number of children and staff self-isolating and therefore limit the burden on school and college leaders. However, the announcement that they will have to work to new arrangements from the start of next term arrives extremely late and provides little time to prepare. All education settings have worked incredibly hard over the past year to keep their pupils and staff safe, yet this will place additional burdens on education leaders who will want to put in place all necessary measures as soon as they can. The government must ensure that schools and colleges are fully resourced to meet the inevitable increase in workload and staffing requirements. Clearly, this has come at a time when staff and pupils are exhausted. The Department needs to support them with detailed, timely guidance as well as a clear indication of what additional resources will be available and when.

School and college leaders and staff have been under immense pressure since the outbreak of the pandemic and many of them have not had a reasonable break during this time. It is essential that they are able to have a meaningful rest over the Christmas holiday period. Delivering clear and careful messages to all settings as well as parents in order to reduce anxiety and limit any additional pressure will be vital. Local authorities support all schools and education settings in their area and the role they play will be critical in this. ADCS looks forward to further engagement over the coming weeks.”


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