Chiswick School Ramps Up Rapid Flow Testing

Staff work over Christmas to set up test centre in sports hall

Chiswick School staff are administering the tests
Chiswick School staff are administering the tests

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Since the beginning of this term staff and students at Chiswick School have been benefiting from the provision of rapid flow testing for coronavirus on the school’s premises.

They can be tested each day in the school’s sports hall with results being returned within the hour.

This program was set up in response to the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson’s announcement on the 15 December, stating that schools would be asked to provide access to rapid flow testing for the new year.

As this policy was revealed just a few days before the end of last term, schools have worked hard throughout the Christmas holidays to transform their sports halls and gyms in order to welcome students and staff back more safely. Support from the Armed Forces was offered in the form of a telephone hotline and testing equipment was delivered on 4 January.

Chiswick School were fortunate to benefit from the advice of the Public Health England team working in Hounslow, who have provided support to all schools throughout the pandemic. Other secondary schools in the borough previously took part in a pilot testing scheme and the close network of headteachers have worked together to learn and understand the safest and most effective way of developing their testing strategy.

The test centre is in the school's sports hall

The site team at Chiswick School built the testing centre in less than a day and senior members of staff undertook training that morning with testing commencing on the afternoon of the 4 January. All staff and students who came to school on Tuesday 5 were tested and both felt much safer and reassured knowing that everyone in school was free from the virus.

Headteacher Laura Ellener said, "I am very proud of the school's ability to get this up and running so quickly; this is down to the willingness of staff to go above and beyond. I sent my mum a photo of our testing site which she was delighted to see; she was especially surprised when she realised those administering the tests were in fact members of staff as opposed to Healthcare Workers.”

Along with the lateral flow testing, Chiswick School also began teaching remotely delivering all year groups full timetables through live lessons on Tuesday. The schools says that all students have been provided with a laptop where needed and the school continues to support vulnerable families through its fundraising initiative.

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January 13, 2021

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