Birley Academy in Sheffield responds after parents are sent false Covid test emails

Parents in Sheffield have received emails falsely telling them their children have been tested for Covid at school, despite never giving their consent.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 1:20 pm

A parent at Birley Academy contacted The Star to complain about the emails, which were sent out by to a number of parents by the NHS, describing them as ‘fraud’ and a ‘GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) breach’.

The school has responded, sharing a copy of an email it subsequently sent to parents and saying the error lay with the Government rather than the school. It is not known whether any other schools in Sheffield have been affected.

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Parents at Birley Academy in Sheffield have been sent emails falsely stating their children had lateral flow tests at school, despite no consent being given (file pic of a student taking a lateral flow test, by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The email sent by Birley Academy to parents last week states: “When the children returned in September, we offered the two lateral flow tests to students on site as directed by the Government for those who had consented. All the test result data was then required to be uploaded to the Government website.

“This information has been uploaded to the Government site and unbeknown to us has generated an email this week to parents saying their child had been tested.

“We have contacted the Government regarding these emails and they are looking into this for us.

“If you have received the results email, we are sorry for the confusion that this has caused. Thank you for your continued support.”

One parent, who asked not to be named, said they and fellow parents at the school were left confused and angry after receiving the emails – supposedly containing the results of lateral flow tests taken on October 6 and 7 – which included personal details including their children’s names and dates of birth.

The Star has contacted NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care, which advised us to contact the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) as it now leads on testing.

The UKSHA has failed to respond to The Star’s enquiries.

According to the UKHSA’s guidance issued as school resumed in September, all secondary school students were expected to take two on-site lateral flow tests on their return, with students and staff should then asked to continue to test twice weekly at home, but parents are required to give consent before testing can take place.