In our newsletter December 4, we alerted member schools to the “Test to Release” scheme for international travel, whereby those arriving from non-exempt countries can be released from self-isolation after five days. It is essential that schools should read the full guidance to understand how the scheme will work. In particular please note the following:

  • The scheme is valid for all countries not on the current list of exemptions
  • Passengers should book the test before leaving for the UK and put the details on the Passenger Locator Form
  • Only tests carried out by Government approved facilities will count
  • Tests cannot be taken until the fifth full day after a person has left a non-exempt country. The departure time is key, not the arrival time in the UK.  The guidance gives the example that someone leaving at 11 am on Monday would count Tuesday as the first day and would be eligible for a test on Day 5, Saturday.

The list of approved test suppliers has now been published here:

List of private providers of coronavirus testing – GOV.UK (

There is a link through this page for private testing providers to self-declare and be listed as an approved testing provider.

Please note that, although Oncologica appears on this list, as of today (Tuesday, December 15, 2020) their UKAS accreditation remains suspended.

Documents for testing in schools and colleges in England

DfE has today published guidance on mass testing in schools and colleges in England from the beginning of next term, which will include weekly testing of staff and daily testing of staff and pupils who have been close contacts of those who have tested positive. A scheme was also announced in Wales last week.

Both ISC and BSA have sought clarification that the guidance applies equally to independent schools, and are assured that the guidance applies to “all schools”, although there will be resource implications. Copies of the relevant supporting documents can be found on our website:

Best wishes, Robin Fletcher
Chief Executive, BSA and BSA Group