Government acts on council call to review testing provision for early years providers
Telford & Wrekin Council are pleased that following their appeal, the government will now provide access to asymptomatic home testing kits for early years providers from next month.
The government has required early years providers to remain open to all children during the current lockdown.
During this time, providers have been accessing rapid testing for their staff through the borough’s rapid testing centres - council run locations and local pharmacies.
At the beginning of February this year, Cllr Shirley Reynolds, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for children, young people, education and lifelong learning and council leader Shaun Davies wrote to the Education Secretary to raise concerns over lack of testing for early years’ staff.
They urged the Education Secretary to urgently ensure much needed at-home testing arrangements were available for early years’ staff, in line with the provisions already made for primary schools.
Following the council’s appeal, the government has now announced that rapid testing kits will be delivered to early year providers from next month.
They will be supplied with lateral flow device (LFD) test kits for their staff, so they can self-swab twice a week, with test results provided in 30 minutes.
Testing will help identify positive cases, particularly amongst those who may have the virus but do not have symptoms.
Councillor Shirley Reynolds, cabinet member for children, young people, education and lifelong learning, said: “We welcome the news that following our continuous lobbying, the government has finally decided to provide early years staff with home test kits.
“Our early years’ workforce will now be better protected against the virus and positive cases in our borough will be identified more quickly, helping to break the chain of transmission in the community.
“This should have been introduced earlier on, as early years settings remained open during lockdown.
“Although we do have many rapid testing centres in the borough, having home-testing kits will enable early years’ staff to do the testing more conveniently in their own homes. This is finally aligned with the arrangements in schools and maintained nurseries.”