PLAID Cymru Shadow Minister for Education Sian Gwenllian MS has called on the Welsh Government to accelerate increasing testing capacity to prevent a high number of school absences.
Depending on a UK wide testing system dictated by the Westminster Government is having a negative impact on pupils in Wales Ms Gwenllian has said.
A lack of testing availability has meant that many pupils in Wales are absent from school for longer than necessary in line with schools’ policies which doesn’t allow symptomatic individuals to return to school unless they test negatively for Covid-19.
Currently, 55 schools in Wales have reported cases with pupils having to self-isolate for 14 days.
Ms Gwenllian said her “inbox is full of e-mails from parents from all parts of Wales” experiencing these difficulties, and that depending on a UK wide testing scheme is “robbing pupils of their education”.
Sian Gwenllian added,
“There is a serious weakness with the testing strategy for schools and the Education Minister is just not taking any responsibility for it. There are huge delays and a lack of tests available which means that far too many pupils are absent from our schools unnecessarily and are missing out on their education once again.
“My inbox is full of e-mails from parents from all parts of Wales who tell me that their school has sent their child home but that tests cannot be accessed through the mail nor a drive-through centre – meaning the child cannot return to school.
“Depending on Westminster’s testing system is now harming the education of our children and young people and robbing them further of their education – which has already been impacted so significantly by Covid.
“My message to the Education Minister and the Health Minister is this. Take responsibility. Use our own Welsh NHS’s testing capacity in full and accelerate the plans to increase testing capacity. We can’t wait until November to sort this out.