NHS Test and Trace: COVID-19 testing for staff and students

The Leigh UTC logo. A school for eleven to nineteen year olds.

Dear Parent/Carer

As you are aware, following Government guidance; the majority of students are currently learning online from home. We are extremely proud of the students at the Leigh UTC and Inspiration Academy for their commitment to this so far. 

Testing for staff and students without coronavirus symptoms is beginning across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘lateral flow tests’. These tests are quick to administer and results are available within 30 minutes. When we return to school, these tests will be taking place at the Leigh UTC for all staff and students. 

Along with the other protective measures we have put in place, these tests will help staff and students to remain in school. Up to one third of people who have coronavirus experience no symptoms. Regular testing will help to stop the spread of the virus and to maximise the number of students who can learn in school. The test is voluntary, but we would encourage everyone to take it. Staff and students will be tested once a week and the timetable of testing will be shared with you nearer the time. 

In preparation for this testing and if you are happy for your child to be tested, please complete the form below.

Click here to view the Permission Form

Those taking the test will be supervised by trained staff. The ‘lateral flow’ tests are quick and easy using a swab of your nose. 

We know these tests work – in validation studies conducted by Oxford University and Public Health England, they were shown to be as accurate in identifying a case as a PCR test (99.68% specificity). The tests have lower sensitivity but they are better at picking up cases when a person has higher viral load, hence the need to test frequently. 

Testing will be offered free of charge. 

What if a pupil tests positive? 

Participating staff and pupils who test positive will be informed about their results individually. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be notified. Guidance on safe travel and additional precautions will be provided along with test results. 

Pupils will need to take a further ‘PCR test’ (similar to those done in local and regional testing sites) on the same day (or as soon as possible). The Leigh UTC will provide these PCR test kits to perform at home or you can go to www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119 to book a follow-up test. If ordering a PCR test yourselves, you should choose to visit a drive-through test site if possible, as it is faster than requesting a home test. 

During this time while they wait for the PCR result (via text / email) they will need to self-isolate.

If the PCR test returns a positive result then your household will have to self-isolate and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace. 

What happens if the test is negative? 

They will be able to stay in The Leigh UTC and resume their activities as normal. A pupil will only be told if they test positive on a ‘lateral flow’ test, so if you do not hear you can assume it was negative. A small number of pupils may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason. 

What if a close contact at school/college tests positive? 

A close contact of someone in school who has tested positive for COVID-19 will need to be collected from school and to then self isolate in accordance with national guidance. This does not apply to household members or close contacts outside of The Leigh UTC who will still need to self-isolate. 

What if my child develops symptoms? 

This testing programme at The Leigh UTC is for people with no symptoms. If your child develops symptoms at any time (such as a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a test by calling 119 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

We will support our staff and pupils throughout, but please contact us if you have any questions. You can call the office on 01322 626600 or email info@theleighutc.org.uk 

Yours faithfully, 

Steve Leahey | Principal