The Joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union have written to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Education asking for Government to share the evidence and advice they are receiving about school reopenings.

Schools and Colleges are expected to start back for the new term on 4 January and NEU says the government has still given no clear indication of what will be happening with testing.

The NEU Joint General Secretaries have also called on the Prime Minister to keep schools and colleges closed for at least the first 2 weeks in January, with online learning except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

In the letter, it asks for the government to share with the teaching profession and with education staff the advice you have been given by the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Officer or their deputies on the proposals for education in the New Year.

It also states that by the end of term school age children had the highest infection rates of any of the age demographics according to data from the ONS. Primary, Secondary and Higher Education age groups all had more than 2,000 cases per hundred thousand; much more than any other demographics.

The letter comes as members of the armed forces are to give remote support to secondary schools and colleges in England setting up mass Covid testing as the new term begins.

The Ministry of Defence said 1,500 military personnel will hold webinars and give phone support to school staff.

In a statement, the MoD said schools and colleges would shortly be provided with further information on how to request additional support if necessary.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The UK armed forces are stepping up once again this holiday.

“They’ll share considerable experience of testing across the country and the successful school pilots conducted this autumn.”

Students will swab themselves in the vast majority of cases, under the supervision of a school staff member or volunteer who has been trained for the role, and teachers are not expected to take a role in the testing process.