Ministers accused of pursuing ‘ridiculous’ policy on lateral flow tests that has ‘no scientific basis’

A snap poll by the Association of School and College Leaders found that 54 per cent of heads reported a take-up of between 90 and 100 per cent for the rapid Covid tests.
Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) saw a take-up of between 80 and 89 per cent while take-up was below 60 per cent in only six per cent of schools, the survey found.
The poll, of more than 700 headteachers in England, suggests nearly three quarters had more than 90 per cent of pupils wearing face masks in class.
On Monday the Government confirmed that pupils will not be forced to don face coverings in classrooms, as some will be “anxious and nervous” about wearing them.
Earlier this week The Telegraph revealed that unions have suggested schools could close if not enough pupils wear face masks, raising the spectre that the long-awaited return to classrooms could be short lived.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of ASCL, said a letter had been issued to members to send to parents who raise objections about their children wearing masks when they return to school.
The letter says that if not enough pupils wear masks it could create ramifications for a schools insurance.
It explains that masks are one of the recommended measures schools need to take to get risk of infection to an acceptable level to enable them to remain open.  
One Government source acknowledged it is “inevitable” there will be an increase in the numbers of cases as schools go back.
Professor Calum Semple, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said a small rise in the R number representing the reproduction rate of the virus is less important than the absolute numbers being admitted to hospital and intensive care.
He said schools are “absolutely” safe for children to return to as surveys showed that even secondary school pupils are far less likely to contract the disease or transmit it than adults.
The main risks come from the increased contacts among adults which will inevitably follow from schools reopening, he explained. 
“The main driver is not the pupil-teacher relationship,” Prof Semple told BBC Breakfast. When we talk about schools, it is the fact that the school brings adults together, whether that’s teaching staff, the domestic staff, the catering staff, and it’s an opportunity for mixing.”