Shropshire primary schools ready to reopen as volunteers offer Covid testing help

Primary schools throughout Shropshire are ready to welcome back students as scores of volunteers come forward to help deliver coronavirus tests, an education leader has said.

Sarah Godden, chief executive of the TrustED Schools' Partnership and former headteacher of Oldbury Wells School
Sarah Godden, chief executive of the TrustED Schools' Partnership and former headteacher of Oldbury Wells School

There have been demands for the return of pupils after the Christmas holidays to be delayed until later in January, with scientists having warned only keeping schools and universities closed will dampen infection rates.

But Government plans could see primary school pupils return from January 4, along with secondary school year groups 11 and 13 – only those doing GCSEs, BTECs and A-levels.

The spare capacity in secondary schools would then be used to deliver rapid coronavirus tests to other year groups before they return the following week.

In Shropshire, the chief executive of the TrustED Schools' Partnership, which runs six schools, has said its primary school staff are "ready to go".

Sarah Godden, who is also the former headteacher at Oldbury Wells School, said: "We're waiting to see how the discussion goes nationally and how things might change.

"But for our primary schools in Shropshire, they're ready to go back as they were before Christmas.

"We're confident that we can continue to deliver what we've been doing up until now."

Meanwhile, an influx of volunteers have come forward to help deliver rapid coronavirus testing at the trust's secondary schools, which could be in place as early as next week.

Mrs Godden said: "At the trust's secondary schools in Oldbury and Church Stretton, they're ready to teach Year 11 and 13, and are ready to deliver distant learning for other years during the first week back.

"We've done a call out to the community for volunteers to help with testing in both schools and we've had a lot of interest from the public and former pupils.

"We're very grateful to all of the volunteers, who will support our qualified staff to lead the testing and both schools are beginning to put plans in place to be able to do that from Monday.

"We understand that from Monday, rapid testing kits will be dropped off to schools, but the details are very uncertain at the minute."

Teachers have undergone training sessions on how to safely deliver coronavirus testing in schools from next week.

The sessions, lead by the Department for Education, have also instructed how to gain permission from parents and carers to allow pupils to be tested.

The TrustED Schools' Partnership runs six schools, including Alveley Primary School, Castlefields Primary School, Church Stretton School, Oldbury Wells School, St Leonard's Church of England Primary School and Stokesay Primary School.

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