COVID-19 Testing for Students

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Asymptomatic testing helps to identify and isolate people who show no signs of having COVID-19.

We are using antigen lateral flow device (LFD) tests, which are highly specific meaning that only a small proportion of people who do not have COVID-19 will receive a positive result.

Extensive clinical evaluation from Public Health England and the University of Oxford shows that LFD tests are appropriate for large-scale population testing, including for asymptomatic people.


The ultimate aim of testing is to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19. As many as one in three people with COVID-19 show no signs of having it, that is they are “asymptomatic”. Testing regularly helps stop the virus spreading.


The Department for Education expects all staff working on site in secondary schools and colleges to undertake regular LFD testing in school. And all students should be tested on their first week back to class at school/college. Testing is on a voluntary basis.


An Asymptomatic Testing Site (ATS) has been set up in each secondary school/ college and testing is done using self-swab LFD tests, which produce a quick result in about 30 minutes.

If the result is positive, self-isolation is required following current public health advice.

If the result is negative, national and local rules and guidelines must be followed including regular handwashing, social distancing and wearing face coverings, where required.


The Government guidance for testing students is that, after an initial programme of three tests in College, students will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home.