On a busy day for Parliament, Jason thanked our local teachers and support staff and asked the Education Secretary about military support for schools in rolling out mass testing.
Jason McCartney MP
I would like to thank all the wonderful teachers and support staff across my constituency and to welcome plans for all secondary and college students to receive two rapid tests at the start of term.
The Royal Air Force has already been helping to deliver rapid tests across Kirklees as part of mass community testing.
Has the Secretary of State considered using military support on the ground in schools and colleges, having done such a wonderful job in extreme circumstances in the past few months, to help deliver mass rapid tests and take the pressure off some of our teachers?
Gavin Williamson MP
I join my hon. Friend in his thanks. I know that he served in the Royal Air Force for a number of years, so he has a particular fondness for our armed forces, as we all do.
The armed forces have done an amazing job. Looking at the sheer number of schools across the country and the whole workforce within them, we felt that it would not be right or proper to ask the armed forces to deliver testing in every single secondary school.
That is why we have provided additional financial support for schools to help them deliver the mass testing regime.
We are very fortunate that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has agreed a Military Aid to the Civil Authorities request that means that we are able to provide military support to schools that are really struggling to set up a testing regime.
We believe that when they are set up, schools will be in an excellent position to keep running and have a real impact in driving down coronavirus infection rates in my hon. Friend’s constituency and all our constituencies.