NHS Test and Trace Service

Asymptomatic Testing for Schools


The following people in England will have access to regular rapid lateral flow testing made available to them as schools and colleges reopen:

  • secondary school pupils and college students
  • staff of primary and secondary schools and colleges
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of primary and secondary-age pupils and college students
  • households, childcare and support bubbles of staff of primary and secondary schools and colleges
  • anyone who works in an occupation related to a childcare provider, school, nursery or college, and their household, childcare and support bubbles

Children of primary school age or younger will not be asked to test at this time.


The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, arrange to have a PCR test if you have not already had one. Stay at home while you are waiting for a home self-sampling kit, a test site appointment or a test result.

Do not use the rapid lateral flow testing service as this is only for people without symptoms.

Order a test for people with symptoms online or call 119


There are different ways to get a test for pupils, students and staff of schools and colleges, and members of their households, childcare and support bubbles in England who do not have symptoms of coronavirus.

Secondary school pupils and college students

Upon returning to school or college, pupils and students will be asked to take their:

  • first 3 tests at their place of study under the supervision of a trained operator
  • fourth test themselves using a home test kit

Pupils and students will then continue taking twice-weekly tests using a home test kit provided by their school. They should report all results to NHS Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed, either online or by telephone, as set out in the home test kit instructions.

Staff of primary or secondary schools and colleges

Upon returning to school or college, teaching and non-teaching staff should take twice-weekly tests using a home test kit provided by their school or college. This includes permanent, temporary and voluntary staff.

Staff should contact their school or college for further details.

Members of households, childcare or support bubbles of pupils, students and staff of schools and colleges

This section does not apply to:

  • secondary school pupils
  • college students
  • staff of schools or colleges

Take twice-weekly tests using home test kits provided by your school or college if you’re one of these pupils, students or staff.

If you’re a member of a household, childcare bubble of a pupil, student or staff of a school or college, you can get a twice-weekly test:

  • through your employer if they offer testing to employees
  • by collecting a home test kit from a test site
  • by ordering a home test kit online

Your workplace may offer rapid lateral flow testing to you. Contact your employer to find out more.

Collect test kits

You can collect packs of home test kits at a local collection point. Each pack contains 7 tests.

Anyone 18 or over can collect.

You can check online if the location is open or busy before you go. You do not need to make an appointment.

Do not visit a collection point outside opening hours, as it may be used to test people with coronavirus symptoms outside these times.

Find your nearest home test kit collection point

Order home test kits online

You can order 1 pack of home test kits containing 7 tests for home delivery. Your tests should arrive within 2 days.

Order rapid lateral flow home test kits

What twice-weekly testing involves

You will be asked to:

  • take a test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days apart)
  • report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test, either online or by calling 119.

If anyone tests positive or gets coronavirus symptoms, they should:

  • self-isolate immediately
  • get a PCR test to confirm the result
  • follow the stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
  • Pupils, students and staff should also tell their school or college if they test positive.

A negative result means the test did not find signs of coronavirus. But this does not guarantee you do not have coronavirus, so you should keep following all coronavirus advice including:

  • regular handwashing
  • social distancing
  • wearing a face covering where recommended


This guidance applies to all schools in England, including:

  • primary schools
  • secondary schools (including sixth forms)
  • special schools, special post-16 providers and alternative provision
  • 16 to 19 academies
  • infant, junior, middle, upper schools
  • boarding schools

If any of the above applies to your organisation and you have an enquiry about LFD Testing, please contact the DfE helpline on 0800 046 8687. The line will be open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.


Someone is in an occupation related to early years childcare providers, nurseries, schools and colleges if they do at least one of the following:

  • support students and staff returning to schools and nurseries, and expect greater contact following the return
  • are in close contact with childcare providers, schools, nurseries or colleges as part of a household, support or childcare bubble
  • provide essential care putting them in close contact with nursery-age children, primary and secondary-age pupils or college students

Children’s social care – open residential homes

Open residential homes are the full-time households of the children who live there. The care staff who look after these children are their main ‘family’ social bubble.

Care staff frequently come and go from the home, and the children have regular face-to-face contact with professionals and birth relatives.

Foster carers

All foster carers with responsibility for primary and secondary pupils, and nursery and early years age children.

Childminders and wraparound childcare staff

‘Wraparound childcare’ is childcare provided outside of normal school hours, such as breakfast clubs or after-school childcare. Wraparound childcare staff and childminders should continue to get tested by either their employer or use test sites. Alternatively, they can order tests online for home delivery. 

Bus drivers

All public transport bus drivers and school bus drivers should get tested by either their employer or use test sites. Alternatively, they can order tests online for home delivery. 

SEND school transport

Drivers and passenger assistants providing transport to pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) may be able to get tests at the school of the pupils they support. If not, they can collect a home test kit from a test site or order one online.