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Last updated 22nd December 2020

Mass testing in schools during pandemic; message from Director of Education

You may have seen in the news recently there has been a request for secondary schools to implement mass testing of students and staff from the New Year, writes Stephen Whittaker, Diocesan Director of Education.

This is intended to keep more students in school but comes with huge logistical challenges for schools. In essence, schools need to build a team of people to help administer the tests to students on a large scale.

The government suggest the use of volunteers and suggest that they need not be DBS checked. Our view is schools would prefer people who have DBS checks in place as it would ease another worry.

Given the pressure to action this in a tight timescale, perhaps there is an opportunity here for churches to step in to offer support to their local secondary school when the new term starts.

It may be that your church has people who are DBS checked who would be willing to help a local secondary school in implementing this testing programme. This would be a great way for a church to engage with a local secondary school and offer support.

The schools themselves may not be in position to use the help but even if they aren't able to do so, I am sure they would be touched by the offer from their local church community.

If your church is able to help, the Diocesan Board of Education would suggest contacting your local school corporately as the new term begins with a list of potential helpers from the church, rather than individuals each making contact separately. 

Even if your church is not able to help in this way, please still do make contact and let your local secondary school know that you are praying for them as they deal with these challenges.

Whether a church secondary school or not, the impact of that message will be hugely powerful to a school community.