Teachers won't have to carry out mass tests, says Gibb

WATCH: Schools minister reveals that operational guidance for testing will be published during the Christmas holidays
18th December 2020, 11:10am
Amy Gibbons

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Teachers won't have to carry out mass tests, says Gibb

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/teachers-wont-have-carry-out-mass-tests-says-gibb
Coronavirus: Teachers Won't Have To Carry Out Mass Testing In Schools, Says Dfe Minister Nick Gibb

Teachers will not have to carry out mass testing at secondary schools in the new year, the schools minister has said.

Instead, schools may draft in volunteers, including parents - along with agency staff - to deliver the rapid testing programme, Nick Gibb said.

But "operational details", containing information on how schools are expected to deliver testing won't be published until next week - during the Christmas holidays, he added.


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Mr Gibb told the BBC's Breakfast programme this morning that "it won't be teachers that will be carrying out the tests".

And speaking about the plans on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he added: "What we're saying is that volunteers will be used, and there's agency staff as well. There's some funding for schools to enable them to employ agency staff to conduct these tests, There will be PPE [personal protective equipment] available to schools as well."

Coronavirus: Mass testing in secondary schools

Asked if the government would cover all staffing costs to schools, he said: "We will cover the cost of agency staff, yes."

Mr Gibb added that, if required, schools would be expected to recruit volunteers.

"Volunteers are involved with school activity through governance, through parents being involved with the school," he said.

"And we all want to ensure that schools are safe places for our students."

But asked if these volunteers would have to undergo safety checks, Mr Gibb said: "In terms of DBS checks, volunteers don't need them, provided they are supervised, and they will, of course, be supervised in terms of conducting these tests."

Schools Minister Nick Gibb tells #R4Today that mass testing in England's schools is "all about making sure we have more young people in the classroom" following criticism that plans have been rolled out with too little notice. https://t.co/dKhAHc03gq pic.twitter.com/mZ7Lsh7xQh

- BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) December 18, 2020

The DfE told Tes earlier this week that the expectation was that in the majority of cases support staff, such as school nurses, will administer the tests. 

The schools minister said all "operational details" for mass testing would be published next week, during the Christmas holidays.

"We're providing very detailed guidance next week about how to conduct these tests and...the logistics for it, we're working with the MoD as well," Mr Gibb said.

"We've already published some guidance, but the detailed operational details will be published next week as we work this through, but, as I said, we have tested this approach in schools over the last several weeks and we did make an announcement also on Tuesday about testing."

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