Expansion of asymptomatic testing for early years staff

The asymptomatic testing programme in education currently covers all staff at school-based nurseries and maintained nursery schools.

We are now expanding home testing kits to staff in all private, voluntary and independent nurseries. These settings will start to receive deliveries of lateral flow device (LFD) home testing kits to offer to all of their staff for twice weekly testing from next month.

This is a significant development that will help to identify positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) more quickly and break the chains of transmission. Childminders continue to have access to community testing facilities for asymptomatic testing.

We understand the frustration of all childminders who currently are not on the list of early years occupations who can access Lateral Flow Tests in a home setting. We have also heard that when some of you have called 119 for advice you have been told that Devon County Council (DCC) has made that decision. Can I reassure you that is incorrect, DCC does not have the authority to locally change decisions that The Department of Health and Social Care or Department for Education (DfE) have made on the expansion of asymptomatic testing for early years staff. However, Dawn Stabb, our Head of Education and Learning, and Steve Brown, our Director of Public Health, continue to raise this inconsistent practice in early years on your behalf to both departments.

Home testing will be available for independent training providers and adult community learning providers by the end of March.

The education in the media blog details what this means for you.