COVID-19 testing - schools, nurseries and colleges

Students began to return to face-to-face education on 8 March with the following testing measures in place:

  • after the initial programme of three tests during the first week in secondary schools or colleges, students will be provided with two rapid tests to use each week at home
  • secondary school and college staff will also be provided with two tests to use each week at home
  • primary school staff will continue to take two rapid COVID-19 tests each week at home.
  • university students on practical courses who need to access specialist facilities and equipment returned to in-person teaching and learning from Monday 8 March. Twice weekly testing will continue to be available for all on campus.

How testing for schools, nurseries and colleges works

  • School children, college students, and staff should continue to be tested at school or college.
  • If you’re going to a school, nursery or college premises, or someone in your household, support or childcare bubble is, the rest of your household or bubble should:
  • take a rapid lateral flow test twice a week (every three or four days)
  • report the rapid lateral flow test results the day they take the test.

Ways to get a rapid lateral flow test

You can:

New local collection sites are being set up - try again if you cannot find one at first.

If you are over 18, you can book a rapid lateral flow test in Bromley at

Do not use this service if you have symptoms

Do not go to a test site if you’ve been told to self-isolate.

You should not go to a lateral flow test site if you have any of these symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Order a test for people with symptoms online or call 119.

Those who cannot visit a test site

If you cannot get to a rapid lateral flow test site you can order free lateral flow test kits to be sent to your home

Use this service to order free rapid lateral flow test kits to be sent to your home in England.

You can order kits to test your household, childcare bubble or support bubble if at least one member:

  • is a school, nursery or college pupil
  • works in a school, nursery or college (this includes temporary workers or volunteers)

Who this service is for

You can only use this service if:

  • you’re 18 or older
  • you live in England
  • you do not have coronavirus symptoms
  • you have not been told to self-isolate
  • you or someone in your household, childcare or support bubble attends a primary school, a nursery, a secondary school, a sixth form, a college, or works at one
  • you cannot get tests from a test site or your work

You cannot use this service if you go to university or a higher education college, or work in one. You should speak to your university or higher education college.

Order rapid lateral flow home test kits   

Order by phone

If you’re eligible but you cannot order online, call 119.

Lines are open 7am to 11pm and calls are free.

How rapid lateral flow tests work

Around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms.

Rapid lateral flow tests help to find cases in people who may have no symptoms but are still infectious and can give the virus to others.

The test usually involves taking a sample from your tonsils (or where they would have been) and from your nose, using a swab. You can get a result in 30 minutes.

Testing positive

If a pupil or member of staff tests positive or gets coronavirus symptoms, they should tell the school, nursery or college and make sure the person:

Nurseries and childminders

All staff at private, voluntary and independent nurseries will have access to tests to use twice weekly at home, building on the testing already available to maintained nursery schools and school-based nurseries. Childminders can continue to access community testing with the government reviewing the testing approach over time.

Schools, nurseries and colleges Covid-19 testing: coronavirus rapid lateral flow home test kits