Asymptomatic testing: schools and colleges in Oxfordshire

Asymptomatic testing information for schools

Please note that the Terms and Conditions which schools have signed up to for the delivery of home and on-site testing have been updated and the duration of the testing programme has been extended until the 23rd July 2021. With the extension of the testing programme, it is advised that schools contact their insurance provider to update them on the new timeframes for asymptomatic testing.

Secondary and Colleges

The Government have given all Secondary Schools and Colleges the opportunity to participate in asymptomatic testing for pupils and staff from January 2021.   The mass testing approach will need planning and considerations for staffing and additional job roles.  Oxfordshire County Council have put together some helpful templates and information that you could use and also links to further information from the Government.

Please note that with the changes announced on the 22nd February and the move to home testing for staff and students guidance has been updated and additional resources have been added to the DfE resources drive and the resources provided by OCC. This can be accessed using the following link and resources from OCC have been updated on this webpage. 

Government documents and information

The Government have provided resources to help you along the way. There is a google drive of resources which is being updated regularly and there is a frequently asked question document which is helpful. You can find further information here

Mass asymptomatic testing: schools and colleges

This page offers information about the testing, how to report problems and how to request access to further resources. It also provides information about specialist settings and pupils/students with SEND.

You can sign up to daily updates, access further testing guidance and materials and gives contact information if you need further help, click here to access this page.

Mass asymptomatic testing in specialist settings.  

This guidance supplements the guidance in the Testing handbook for schools and colleges, recognising that there are distinct issues for settings in the special school, specialist college and AP sectors. It is part of guidance and resources for schools and colleges to support preparations for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in education settings. Further information can be found here

Testing handbook

The testing handbook is to help you prepare for rapid mass testing which will begin in January 2021. There are a range of materials available to you, with a ‘How to guide’ and the handbook is part other training materials which is also be available to schools and colleges.

Recorded webinars

The NHS have set up some recorded webinars for you, they give advice and guidance about how to set up your site, manage the workforce and how to manage clinical compliance and lots more.  The link below give you access to the recordings

Rapid, asymptomatic testing for schools and colleges: The workforce planning tool.

This ready reckoner provides an indication of the minimum number of bays and total staff recommended to achieve this.  The Government have made funds available to support schools and colleges, this will be paid retrospectively, and they will provide further information for you. You can find thd workforce planning tool here

Clinical Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) 

The Clinical Standard Operating Procedure is the foundation document for use by schools when setting up and running their testing services. With the move to home testing there are now two SoPs to follow, one for staff testing and one for student testing. While these are detailed documents, it is important that you read and understand your requirements for setting up and completing the tests in a safe and compliant way, as this is a requirement of the Terms and Conditions that schools are signing up to.  

The SoPs are designed for the safe implementation of approved lateral flow antigen testing processes where on-site clinical oversight is not required. The document describes the appropriate clinical governance and infection control procedures for sampling and testing at asymptomatic testing sites (ATSs). This has the responsibilities of site staff, how to conduct interactions with people being tested, and clinical data management principles.

Schools should use these document when setting up and running their testing services and use it as a checklist before testing commences to ensure compliance with the procedures set out in the document. It is recommended that once the set-up phase has been completed, the Headteacher, Chair of Governors and the schools COVID Coordinator go through the document and make an assessment to ensure compliance with the procedures. Further information about the SoPs can be found here.

Important Contacts

For further information about rapid testing in schools you can:

Anyone with one or more of symptoms of coronavirus:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough
  • a loss or change in sense of smell or taste

Should self-isolate and book a test or call 119 in England

Support and information from Oxfordshire County Council

To help schools in Oxfordshire we have been working in the background to provide you with supportive documents and templates which will give a consistent approach to the new work that you are taking on.

We would also like to offer support with recruiting workers as part of the implementation of your school testing facility.  We can do this by giving you access to Oxfordshire County Council’s managed service contract for temporary recruitment. We hope you find the information and templates below helpful.  

Access to experienced agencies

The Council work with a wide number of local and national recruitment agencies. However, due to the urgent nature of the schools testing requirements we have selected one local agency called Selective Recruitment as the main point of contact.

Selective have significant experience in recruiting and training for COVID-19 testing centres. Currently Selective operate 30 testing sites within the South East and London areas, all staff are pre-screened and vetted to ensure compliance standards are met.

Selective will seek to recruit workers ideally with experience of working within a school environment. All workers will be required to demonstrate they are empathetic, can guide and reassure students during tests, be approachable and have exceptional communication skills. Fast track DBS checks will be processed and Selective will confirm in writing that all required vetting checks have been completed to a satisfactory standard in line with DfE guidance.

To discuss your options further or to place an order for temporary workers contact Emma on 07710157586.

Templates

Job Description & Selection Criteria for a COVID-19 Testing Operative

We have developed a standard template to help find reliable and self-motivated individuals to join your dedicated school testing team. This post is required to support with the safe delivery of testing for pupils and staff in on site testing units.

You can find the template here

Job Description & Selection Criteria for a COVID-19 Team Leader/Quality Lead 

We have developed a standard template to help find reliable and self-motivated individuals to lead your dedicated school testing team and provide the lead for quality. This post is required to support with the safe delivery of testing for pupils and staff in on site testing units.

You can find the template here

Mass Testing Generic Risk Assessment Template 

Please note that there are now two generic risk assessment templates, one for onsite testing and one for home testing. It is important that both risk assessments are completed and reviewed by your Governing Body’s.

These templates have been produced to support Headteachers in assessing the risks associated with the set up and running of the testing service. Advice and guidance has been sort from OCC Legal, Insurance and Health and Safety teams in its production and covers all aspects of the testing service and its potential impact on schools.

It also incorporates the risks identified in the NHS Test and Trace template risk assessment that can be found on the DfE resources drive.  

The next step for schools will be to assess whether they have any school specific risks to add to the risk assessment and any controls they already have in place to mitigate the risks identified. Schools can then use the further controls required suggestions in italic as a starter to develop additional controls to be implemented to mitigate the risks to an acceptable level.   

It is important that schools complete the risk assessment and gain Governing Board sign off before starting the testing service. The SoP makes clear that ‘Each school will need to have a risk assessment in place prior to sign off for launch'. The risk assessment should be completed jointly by the school and various service providers (such as any third-party supplier of workforce or equipment) involved in the delivery to testing’. Click the links below for the risk assessment templates.

Template report to Governing Bodies on the Mass Testing Process in schools

The SoP provides clarity for accountable areas in the testing process. This accountability includes ‘ensuring appropriate local oversight and governance’. To fulfil this area of accountability Governing Boards will be required to seek assurance that the testing service is being run in line with the requirements set out in the SoP. To support Heads in providing this assurance to Governing Boards a template report has been produced. This covers all areas that schools are accountable for and will meet the requirements of appropriate local oversight and governance.  Click here to see the template report.

Questions and Prompts for Governors when considering Mass Testing at Governing Boards 

The need to provide Governors support in fulfilling their oversight and governance role in Mass Testing has been recognised. A brief overview of what schools are accountable for and prompts and potential questions Governor may ask has been produced.

This is not an exhaustive list but a starting point for the oversight of the testing process by the Governing Board. Further support for Governors is being developed through Governor Services.  You can find questions and prompts here.

Best Practice from Schools

This section looks to identify and share best practice from schools. If you feel that your school can support others by sharing best practice, please feel free to forward any contributions to the Education and Learning team.

Gillotts school 

Gillotts school have produced a quality management system that fulfils all the quality assurance process identified in the guidance and Clinical Standard Operating Procedure. It combines all the elements of this system onto one spreadsheet. This can also be used to provide assurance to your Governing Board's as well as a monitoring tool for your Senior Leadership Team when reviewing the effectiveness of the testing service. 

Primary Schools and Maintained Nurseries 

The DfE has confirmed that primary schools (including school-based nurseries) and maintained nursery schools will participate in rapid testing for staff.  

Government documents and information 

The Government have provided resources to help you along the way. There is a google drive of resources which is being updated regularly and there is a frequently asked question document which is helpful. These resources can be found on the Primary Schools Document Sharing Platform - Google Drive 

There is now published guidance for to support you with this.  

Recorded webinars 

The NHS have set up some recorded webinars for Primary Schools, they give advice and guidance about how to introduce testing in your school and how to report and record results. You will only need to attend one on each topic. You can find the live session or recordings below: 

Important Contacts  

For further information about rapid testing in schools you can: 

Anyone with one or more of symptoms of coronavirus:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough
  • a loss or change in sense of smell or taste

Should self-isolate and book a test or call 119 in England

Support and information from Oxfordshire County Council 

To help schools in Oxfordshire we have been working in the background to provide you with supportive documents and templates which will give a consistent approach to the new work that you are taking on. 

Generic Risk Assessment Template  

This template has been produced to support Headteachers in assessing the risks associated with the set up and running of the testing service. Advice and guidance has been sort from OCC Legal, Insurance and Health and Safety teams in its production and covers all aspects of the testing service and its potential impact on schools. 

The next step for schools will be to assess whether they have any school specific risks to add to the risk assessment and any controls they already have in place to mitigate the risks identified. Schools can then use the further controls required suggestions in italic as a starter to develop additional controls to be implemented to mitigate the risks to an acceptable level. The template can be found here.

Template report to Governing Bodies on the Mass Testing Process in schools 

The SoP provides clarity for accountable areas in the testing process. This accountability includes ‘ensuring appropriate local oversight and governance’. To fulfil this area of accountability Governing Boards will be required to seek assurance that the testing service is being run in line with the requirements set out in the SoP. To support Heads in providing this assurance to Governing Boards a template report has been produced. This covers all areas that schools are accountable for and will meet the requirements of appropriate local oversight and governance.  Click here to see the template report. 

Questions and Prompts for Governors when considering Mass Testing at Governing Boards 

The need to provide Governors support in fulfilling their oversight and governance role in Mass Testing has been recognised. A brief overview of what schools are accountable for and prompts and potential questions Governor may ask has been produced. 

This is not an exhaustive list but a starting point for the oversight of the testing process by the Governing Board. Further support for Governors is being developed through Governor Services.  You can find questions and prompt here

Template Letter to Parents 

To support schools a template letter explaining the staff testing process has been produced for school. Click here to see the template letter.