School to test 150 pupils for Covid a day during March re-opening

North Walsham High School headteacher James Gosden and teacher Mr Phipps in PPE as the school prepares to test 150...

North Walsham High School headteacher James Gosden and teacher Mr Phipps in PPE as the school prepares to test 150 students a day when it reopens in March. - Credit: North Walsham High School

A school has trained teachers and staff members to become Covid testers as it prepares to test a minimum of 150 students a day when schools reopen next month.

North Walsham High School will bring its Year 10 and 11 pupils back on March 3 and 4 in order to get their first tests done.

Headteacher James Gosden said he made the decision to bring older years back earlier for tests due to the amount of disruption their learning they had faced. 

Earlier years will then be staggered, bringing in another year group every two or three days following negative tests with all year groups back in school by March 19.

Mr Gosden said: "We want them to come in and once they're in school have less disruption. On the Monday they'll come in for their second test and they'll then stay in school for their lessons.

"Within ten days we'll have tested every child three times.

"Every child will have been tested and had their results before they go into the classroom.

North Walsham High School is preparing to test 150 students a day when it reopens in March.

North Walsham High School is preparing to test 150 students a day when it reopens in March. - Credit: North Walsham High School

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"They'll come in, do their test, go back outside remaining socially distanced, once they get a result and they've tested negative, they can come into their lessons and start afresh.

"In theory, you can have everyone back from March 8, but realistically to get everyone back safely we need to stagger it slightly.

"We've worked really hard on this, we've set up 12 testing stations within the school, that means we can do 144 tests an hour, but it's a huge staff undertaking.

"If we were to have more students back in one go we wouldn't be able to test that quickly."

The school has made changes since the last lockdown, with staff now required to wear face masks at all times and a single-file walkway introduced to avoid mixing.

James Gosden is the headteacher at North Walsham High School. Picture: Supplied by North Walsham Hig

James Gosden is the headteacher at North Walsham High School. - Credit: North Walsham High School

Mr Gosden said while smaller groups of students could have been brought back earlier, the March 8 reopening date gives him time to plan which he did not have during previous reopenings.

He added: "Realistically we could've had some students back sooner, which would've been lovely.

"But March 8 to me seems reasonable, for the first time at least the government have given us time to plan our approach."


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