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Lateral flow test challenge worth it to get pupils back to school – principal

Amy Murphy, PA
·3-min read

The “logistical challenge” of getting lateral flow testing in place has been worth it to get students back into the classroom, a secondary school principal has said.

Andy Scruby, principal at Outwood Academy Adwick, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, said students had been “incredible and really grown up” with the way they have handled the testing, and that staff had been “brilliant” while training for and delivering the process.

The school, part of Outwood Grange Academies Trust, saw its first pupils returning on Monday, with 90% of parents consenting to allow their children to be tested.

Coronavirus – Mon Mar 8, 2021
A student takes a lateral flow test at Outwood Academy Adwick (Danny Lawson/PA)

Mr Scruby said: “It’s been quite a logistical challenge to get back into school, especially with the lateral flow testing, but the staff have been absolutely brilliant to make sure we’ve got everything all back in place for the children for when they return and here we are now, back in schools, and it feels excellent and we’re all excited.”

The principal at the 1,100-pupil school said the biggest consideration had been getting the lateral flow testing in place ahead of the students’ return.

Year 7 pupils attended the school site for testing on Monday morning and then returned to the classroom along with students from Years 10 to 13, who were tested last week.

Following the return of Years 8 and 9 on Tuesday and Wednesday, the school will begin a rolling programme of twice-weekly testing, carrying out more than 2,000 tests each week.

Coronavirus – Mon Mar 8, 2021
Erin Horn looking in a mirror while taking a lateral flow test (Danny Lawson/PA)

Mr Scruby said: “Students have been incredible and really grown up, the way they’ve handled it.

“Staff have been brilliant with training and then delivering the process.

“So all the logistics have all been worth it to get the students back into school.”

The principal said staff and students were all “excited” to return to school and that students had been wearing face masks in classrooms and other communal areas.

Coronavirus – Mon Mar 8, 2021
Pupils wearing face masks in the classroom at Outwood Academy Adwick (Danny Lawson/PA)

He said: “We’re back in lessons now, we’ve got students taking their lateral flow testing and it’s starting to get a sense of normalcy that we’ve been waiting a long time for.”

Aiden Edgecombe, a Year 7 pupil at the school, said: “I’m happy to see my friends, it’s good for learning. I just didn’t like waking up early and I’d rather have a bit more of a lie-in than having to rush.”

The 12-year-old said home schooling had been “OK”.

He said: “It’s been harder to work and we didn’t really get to see our social experience, plus it’s not been the best because people can just skip work and not get more educated.”

Liam Smithson, 12, also in Year 7, said: “I’m really feeling good to be back, it helps the people learn and it’s just very good to be back.”