7,000 Covid-19 tests carried out on students and staff at two secondary schools in Harborough – and not one has proved positive

Schools say the mass testing programme has gone really well

Monday, 15th March 2021, 12:36 pm

An incredible 7,000 Covid-19 tests have now been carried out on students and staff at two secondary schools in Market Harborough – and not one has proved positive.

The lateral flow checks have been conducted on a total of about 2,000 pupils, teachers and other members of staff at Welland Park Academy and Robert Smyth Academy.

And in a massive boost for both schools – and the Market Harborough community across the board - every single test has turned out to be negative.

An incredible 7,000 Covid-19 tests have now been carried out on students and staff at two secondary schools in Market Harborough – and not one has proved positive.

Delighted Julie McBrearty, the principal of Welland Park Academy on Welland Park Road, told the Harborough Mail: “We have now completed our mass testing programme on all students and staff – and it’s gone absolutely brilliantly.

“We have about 950 pupils and they have each done three lateral flow tests.

“We have also tested all our staff for the coronavirus.

“And the great news is that they have all tested negative – not one has got the virus.”

She saluted eight or nine “generous, selfless” volunteers from the local community and governors who have put the huge testing initiative into operation.

“I want to say a big heartfelt thank you to each and every one of them.

“They have had to do extensive advanced training to enable them to carry out this testing,” said Julie.

“These people have given up their time and invested such a lot of effort to come in and help us out.

“They have not just worked very hard to put our programme into effect day in day out.

“They have also been so good at reassuring students who were understandably anxious and daunted at having their first tests,” said Julie.

“And the volunteers and governors stepping in to the breach to do the testing has released our teachers to do what they do best – carry on teaching in class.

“Our youngsters have settled back into school just fine – they are a credit to us.

“They are being so enthusiastic, determined and focused at coming back.

“And they are loving getting back into after-school sports such as football, rugby and netball.

“Our attendance rates are very high and students have settled straight back in after such a tough time in isolation during the Covid lockdowns over the last year or so.

“We staged very good quality online learning when our children were learning at home,” said Julie.

“Our staff carried out home visits and went for walks with pupils with social and learning difficulties so we have been engaged and connected all the way through this.

“We have a fantastic team who have handled this very challenging time brilliantly – and we’ve had really positive feedback from parents.

“Our Year 11 students are seriously knuckling down as they work flat out to secure the best GCSE grades they can this summer.

“It’s just great for all of us to see our students back in class, enjoying the freedom to reconnect with their mates and with staff.

“I’m very proud of all our students as well as our first-class staff amid these unprecedented days.”

Meanwhile, thrilled Dan Cleary, who heads up the 1,000-student Robert Smyth Academy on Burnmill Road, Market Harborough, told the Mail they have carried out over 3,350 tests on pupils and staff.

“We have completed our mass testing blueprint over the last seven days – it’s just been awesome.

“Every test has proved negative.

“That obviously gives us enormous confidence in the dedicated coronavirus measures that we have put in place here to keep everyone safe,” said Dan.

“I don’t want to hear about any other agencies having to help out because it’s purely our own staff who have made this all happen so successfully.

“They are all members of Robert Smyth Academy – our very own colleagues.

“They have been thrown in at the deep end well and truly.

“And they have responded magnificently.

“They have carried out the Covid tests every day as well as doing their own jobs at school,” insisted Dan.

“These people are genuine Harborough heroes – and should be recognised as such.

“I’d like to name check our fabulous team we all have to thank.

“They are Elisha, the test lead, Katy, Karen, Jo, Caroline, Lisa, Sarah, James and Tracey.

“Talk about world leaders.

“They’ve come together to deliver well over 3,000 tests here.

“They have gone on to bat for our school, they are very special people – they are true 24-carat Harborough heroes.”