The DHSC and DfE have announced how home testing for school age children will be extended as lockdown restrictions lift in England. This outlines that all households in England with primary and secondary school and college age children, as well as childcare and support bubbles will be encouraged to start regular twice-weekly testing as schools return. Tests will also be offered to those working in the ‘wider school community’. These will be available from today – 1 March - for collection from local schools, local authority collection points or one of 500 testing hubs.
PACEY is in discussions with the DfE about how the extended provision of home testing for families can also support childminders to access home tests, whether they provide childcare for school aged children or early education for pre-school children. We hope to provide an update on this important issue later this week.
Liz Bayram, Chief Executive at PACEY comments:
“Regular home-testing is a vital part of keeping transmission under control as schools return from next week and key to reassuring parents and providers that their provision is safe.
"We are now seeking urgent clarification that registered childminders and nannies who provide wraparound care are included in this offer as well as how childminders and nannies who only care for pre-school children will be able to have the same protection. We are also pushing DfE to provide guidance to providers who offer childcare before school and may well be expected to monitor secondary school children taking their twice weekly test whilst in their childcare setting.
"With just one week to go before home-testing begins in every school in England, DfE must ensure its guidance is clear and that the 1000s of childminders and nannies currently expected to continue to rely on community testing are welcomed into this new system.
Last week we launched template letters to help you negotiate local partnerships for home testing in your area, as some providers have successfully set up. You can find these resources here.