A former Defence Minister has called on the Government to deploy troops to carry out tests on pupils so that more schools can remain open.
Tory MP Tobias Ellwood told The Mail on Sunday that the use of Army medics to check whether youngsters have Covid-19 could prevent classrooms lying empty next month.
The Ministry of Defence is considering his plan to introduce a ‘train the trainer’ system so Army medics can give teachers lessons on how to conduct the tests safely.
Teaching unions have expressed unhappiness at the Government’s scheme for testing to start when schools return on January 4, and have advised members not to feel under pressure to comply.
But Mr Ellwood said the successful use of soldiers to test hauliers queueing at Dover in recent days showed what could be achieved.
‘We have seen how effectively military personnel worked to clear the backlog on the approach to Dover, and previously in Liverpool where they provided mass testing against the virus,’ said Mr Ellwood, who served in the Royal Green Jackets before entering politics.