Teachers and support staff in English schools and colleges are to have access to weekly Covid testing from January, ministers have said, The Independent reports.

Students and staff deemed close contacts of people testing positive for coronavirus will also be entitled to a daily test for seven days in a row under a new scheme using the faster “lateral flow” tests.

It is hoped the programme will reduce the number of people made to isolate and the time they are out of action.

Geoff Barton, from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “Weekly testing should provide an extra level of reassurance to staff, and, crucially, rapid daily tests for pupils and staff who have been in contact with positive Covid cases should reduce the need for self-isolation and the disruption this causes.

“It is essential that schools and colleges are properly supported by the government to deliver these programmes." 

The new testing scheme comes on the back of a number of pilots which took place in the autumn term.