Due to changing public health advice @EducationGovUK are pausing the daily testing of pupils and school staff who have come into contact with positive cases in order to give time to evaluate whether this is an effective strategy in light of the newer, more transmissible strain of the virus. But what does this mean in practice?

Didn’t Public Health England and SAGE say that daily testing on contacts a viable alternative to isolation in schools?

Yes they did. Last year we announced a widespread programme of testing in schools and as part of that we said anyone who had come into contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 would be tested for the virus daily rather than having to self-isolate in order to make sure as many people – staff and pupils – could carry on attending schools.

A Public Health England spokesperson said:

At the end of last year the Government announced a widespread testing programme in schools to detect additional asymptomatic cases and reduce transmission. This included regular testing of staff and the introduction of daily contact testing for close contacts in secondary schools. This remains an extremely important part of our overarching testing programme.

Initial pilots of testing in schools (led by Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace), including contact testing, started in October. These pilots illustrated the potential benefit of Daily Contact Testing in schools in detecting more positive cases and ensuring continued face to face education…The SAGE 68 meeting concluded that ‘overall SAGE is supportive of piloting regular testing to avoid quarantine and assesses that this could provide a similar effect to the current 14-day isolation system.’

So what’s changed?

This was before the newer, more transmissible strain of the virus became dominant. In light of this, Public Health England has reviewed its advice and now recommends that daily contact testing in schools is paused and that we revert to contacts self-isolating while experts look at whether daily testing is effective in the context of the new strain of the virus.

We are also increasing testing of staff to twice weekly as further reassurance and to break chains of transmission.

I read that you are pausing all mass testing of pupils?

This is not true. Mass testing of pupils and weekly testing of staff will continue in schools, as planned and previously set out. The only change is that we are pausing daily contact testing and reverting to contacts isolating at home.

Is it still your priority to open schools as soon as possible and keep them open to as many pupils and students as possible?

Absolutely. As we have said consistently, education is a national priority – because schools and colleges are the best place for young people’s education, development and wellbeing. We are now focused on making sure all children have access to the best possible standard of remote education, while we are working towards reopening schools as soon as possible.

So when will you be bringing back daily contact testing in place of isolation?

Well it depends on Public Health England’s advice. A small number of schools are continuing to do daily testing to help them understand the benefits in light of the new strain.

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Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

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