Coronavirus (COVID-19): assessment processes for selective school admissions

Guidance on entry testing for admission to state-funded selective schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Guidance on selective school admissions is available in the school admissions code.

Applies to England



This guidance is for:

  • grammar schools
  • partially selective ‘bilateral’ schools
  • schools which band applicants by ability to achieve a comprehensive intake
  • schools which select up to 10% of their cohort by aptitude in a prescribed subject
Published 24 July 2020
Last updated 24 February 2022 + show all updates
  1. We have clarified our advice to state that test venues should follow UKHSA guidance when someone develops symptoms or has a positive test and around when test venues can refuse to permit a child to sit a test.

  2. Updated to reflect the end of the asymptomatic testing programme. Reference made to UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) guidance on contact tracing and isolation which comes into effect from Thursday 24 February 2022.

  3. Updated to account for advice in the ‘Schools COVID-19 operational guidance’ that face coverings are no longer recommended in schools.

  4. Updated guidance in line with the UKHSA announcement about confirmatory PCR tests and clarifying that children can return to school after day 7 if they've had two negative LFD tests.

  5. Updated to reflect changes in advice on face coverings.

  6. Updated to reflect that daily rapid testing is now recommended for contacts of COVID-19.

  7. We have updated this guidance to reflect the changes that were made to schools’ guidance as part of the government's response to the Omicron variant, and to reflect changes to the selection process now that the autumn term is ending.

  8. This guidance has been updated to reflect the September Review and ensure it is consistent with the changes to advice relating to those previously considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable, remove out of date information relating to the 2020 to 2021 academic year, and update references from the 2014 School Admissions Code to the 2021 School Admissions Code.

  9. Updated guidance to make clear who is no longer required to isolate if identified as a close contact, which includes young people up to the age of 18 years and 6 months.

  10. This guidance has been updated to remove pre-Step 4 wording. It has also been republished in HTML.

  11. We have published new guidance which comes into force from Step 4 of the Roadmap. Until Step 4 the current guidance (dated May 2021) remains in place. The new guidance advises that the protective measures detailed will only be required where the test venue is in an area of particular concern offered an enhanced response package to help limit COVID-19 transmission, where local authorities, directors of public health or PHE health protection teams recommend the measures are adopted as part of their outbreak management responsibilities or where a school admission authority chooses to adopt those protective measures following a risk assessment.

  12. Guidance updated to provide information about autumn 2021 selection assessments. Updates are listed in the document.

  13. Guidance updated to include changes on positive Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test results.

  14. Guidance updated.

  15. Updated document to include changes on selection testing in schools, the protective measures to be adopted in schools or test centres, face coverings and testing clinically extremely vulnerable pupils in their home environment.

  16. Updated guidance (paragraph 22) on clinically extremely vulnerable children in tier 4.

  17. Updated document with minor changes. These include informing local authorities that late and in-year testing can continue to go ahead, that travel to the test is considered essential travel and that protective measures should continue to be taken during tests.

  18. First published.