Testing for nurseries, schools, colleges, staff, families and bubbles

All households with children of nursery, school or college age are being asked to take twice-weekly Covid-19 tests in line with schools and colleges.

About 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still pass it on to others. Regular testing of people without symptoms is important to help stop the virus spreading and protect your loved ones. As lockdown restrictions gradually ease we all need to play our part to help protect each other.

Find more information and guidance about the testing scheme on the gov.uk website (external link).

Who is eligible for these tests?

The following people will have access to regular rapid coronavirus testing as schools and colleges re-open:
  • Secondary school pupils and colleges students
  • Staff of primary and secondary schools and colleges
  • Staff of Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) nurseries
  • Households, childcare and support bubbles of nursery, primary and secondary-age pupils and college students
  • Households, childcare and support bubbles of staff of nursery, primary, secondary schools and colleges

Nursery and primary school pupils will not be asked to test at this time.

Find out about childcare bubbles (external link) and support bubbles (external link).

How to get the tests

There are different ways to get a test for pupils, students and staff of nurseries, schools and colleges, and members of their households, childcare and support bubbles who do not have symptoms of coronavirus.

If your child is at secondary school or college:

  • They will be asked to take their first 3 tests at school/college, under supervision of a trained operator
  • They will then need to carry out twice weekly testing at home
  • You can collect home test kits between 1pm-8pm every day from the Edge Hill University or Westgate (Nr Sandy Lane Health Centre, Skelmersdale) testing sites

If you have a child of nursery or primary school age:

  • They do not need to be tested unless they have symptoms
  • Parents/carers and support/childcare bubbles are encouraged to test themselves at home twice a week on a regular basis. See the section below on household members

If you’re a member of a household, childcare or support bubble of pupils, students and staff of nurseries, schools and colleges you can:

  • Get twice-weekly testing through your employer if they offer testing to employees. Find out about the workplace testing scheme here
  • Get tested regularly at your local test site if you cannot work from home. Find your nearest test site here
  • Collect home test kits between 1pm-8pm every day at the Edge Hill University or Westgate (Nr Sandy Lane Health Centre, Skelmersdale) testing sites
  • If you cannot get to a local testing site, for example if you cannot drive or get someone to take you there, you can order free testing kits to be sent to your home. Please do not order online if you can access testing through other routes, this frees up home delivery for those who need it most.
If you are primary or secondary school or college staff:
  • Teaching and non-teaching staff of primary and secondary schools and colleges should take twice-weekly tests using a home test kit provided by your school or college
  • This includes permanent, temporary and voluntary staff
  • Contact your school or college for further details about how to access the testing kits.
If you work in a Private, Voluntary or Independent (PVI) nursery:
  • You should take twice-weekly tests using a home test kit, preferably in the morning. The home test kits will be provided by your nursery
  • You should not offer testing to children in early years settings

Collecting your home testing kits

Most collection points are open from 1pm to 8pm. You can check online if the site is open before you go. You do not need to make an appointment.

Anyone aged 18 or over can collect 2 packs of home test kits from your local testing site. Each pack contains 7 tests.

Do not visit a collection point outside opening hours, as it may be used to test people with coronavirus symptoms outside these times.

What twice-weekly testing involves

You will be asked to:

  • Take a test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days apart)
  • Report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test, whether it is positive or negative. You can report your test result online or by calling 119.

If anyone tests positive or gets coronavirus symptoms, you should tell the school and:

A negative result means the test did not find signs of coronavirus. But this does not guarantee you do not have coronavirus, so you should keep following all coronavirus advice including:

  • Regular handwashing
  • Social distancing
  • Wearing a face covering where recommended