A DALES school was visited by MP Rishi Sunak this week, who praised staff and students on the success of their testing centre.

Mr Sunak arrived at The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form on Friday morning and spoke with parents, then students at the testing centre, followed by a Q&A with students.

Mr Sunak said he was very impressed with the testing operation he had witnessed at The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form. He said: “The school staff and volunteers have done a great job in setting up the system to make the very welcome return to school as safe as possible for pupils and staff. It was all very calm and smooth and I am sure that helped everyone involved feel reassured about the process.

“My Q&A with pupils was good fun. They had some probing questions for me. It was refreshing to hear about their issues and I really enjoyed talking to them about my life as their local MP, working in Westminster, and dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Responding to a question by one of students about proposed summer catch up lessons, Mr Sunak said: “No decision has been made but Gavin Williamson is looking at options such as extra tutoring and summer schools." It’s really important this past year doesn’t end up harming your chances of you being able to do whatever you really want to do, and if we need to catch up a little bit, it’s a really good thing.”

Staff at the school have spent the week testing students ahead of a full return to school on Monday, March 15.

The school has recorded no positive or void results from the two sets of tests given out this week.

Headteacher, Julia Polley, said: “Students and parents had the opportunity to meet with Rishi Sunak MP today as he held a Q&A session with some of our students and chatted with staff and parents about the testing arrangements. It is an honour to host the Chancellor and we are grateful for the time he has taken out of his busy schedule to visit our school community.

About the testing centre, she went on to say: “During this week we have tested 98 per cent of students with Lateral Flow Tests, which is testament to the continued support from our parents for us to be able to do this. So far, we have had 100 per cent negative Lateral Flow Tests and together with our robust infection management controls and risk assessment, we are confident to get back to face to face teaching from 15th March.

“I would like to congratulate all the students for their mature and sensible approach to testing and I am delighted that they have all reported they are looking forward to returning to school. Finally, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the senior leaders and testing team who have worked tirelessly to make this happen. I couldn't have done this without them.

The MP’s visit was the first of a number of visits within the constituency today which included a primary school and vaccination centre.