Rapid testing for schools and colleges

As schools and colleges reopen, the following people in England will have access to regular rapid lateral flow testing made available to them:

  • Secondary school pupils and college students
  • Primary school, secondary school and college staff
  • Households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary-age pupils and college students
  • Households, childcare and support bubbles of staff in primary and secondary schools and colleges

Primary school pupils will not be asked to test at this time.

Read the government guidance here.

How to get a test

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

Secondary school pupils and college students

On returning to school or college, pupils and students will be asked to take their:

  • first 3 tests at their place of study, supervised by a trained operator
  • fourth test themselves using a home test kit

Pupils and students will then continue taking twice-weekly tests using a home test kit provided by their school. They should report their result to NHS Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed, either online or by telephone, as set out in the home test kit instructions.

Staff of primary or secondary schools and colleges

On returning to school, teaching and non-teaching staff of primary and secondary schools should take twice-weekly tests using a home test kit provided by their school. This includes permanent, temporary and voluntary staff.

Staff should contact their school or college for further details.

Members of households, childcare or support bubbles of pupils, students and staff of schools and colleges

If you’re a member of a household, childcare bubble of a pupil, student or staff of a school or college, you can get a twice-weekly test:

  • through your employer if they offer testing to employees
  • at a local test site
  • by ordering a home test kit online

Get a test through your employer

Your workplace may offer rapid lateral flow testing to you. Contact your employer to find out more.

Take a test at a rapid lateral flow test site

You can take a rapid lateral flow test at a local site. Testing at these sites is assisted, which means you will swab yourself under the supervision of a trained operator. You may need to book an appointment.

Find your nearest rapid lateral flow test site

Order home test kits online

If you cannot get tested at your workplace, or are unable to go to a test site or collect test kits, you can order a home test kit online.

Do not order online if you can get a test through other methods. This frees up home delivery for those who need it most.

Order rapid lateral flow home test kits

What twice-weekly testing involves

You will be asked to:

  • take a test twice a week (3 or 4 days apart)
  • report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test

Report your test result online or by calling 119.

If anyone tests positive or gets coronavirus symptoms, they should:

Pupils, students and staff should also tell their school or college if they test positive.

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