A mother is concerned about a potential spread of coronavirus with hundreds of children set to take exams next week.

Seven schools in the Watford area will welcome hundreds of primary school children this weekend.

The 11+ entrance exams are for some children who are looking to get into particular secondary schools.

Amanda Mills, who lives in Garston, said her daughter, Bethany, is due to take the test at Parmiter's School this Saturday (October 17).

Watford Observer:

Parmiter's School. Credit: Google Street View

Mrs Mills said she is concerned about the mixing of pupils and the potential exposure to coronavirus if children from different primary schools are in the same test setting.

She said she contacted examination body South West Herts Schools Consortium, who arrange the tests, over safety concerns – and was told by the consortium that each school will do their own risk assessment instead of one body taking responsibility across the board.

She then reached out to Parmiter's and was told the school will be carrying out its own risk assessment.

She was told there would be 111 children on the day Bethany is due to take the test - who are all from 27 different primary schools - and they would all be in their bubbles and sitting at least two metres apart when taking the test in the school's sports hall.

She added: "There is even more of a risk of them mixing. I would feel much better knowing that one body was overseeing all the test centres."

She said she was told by the consortium that the test isn't compulsory, but said that where she lives she feels she needs to put Bethany in for the test so she has the opportunity to make it into the school.

She added: "I think a lot of parents have gone along with it because they don't have any other choice. If you want your child to go to one of those schools and it's not on your doorstep you have to sit it - or you don't get the chance."

She added that even if Bethany didn't take the test she would still be sitting next to someone in her primary school who had taken it.

She said students should be instead given the option to take the test at their primary school, or instead have their ability judged through SATs results.

She added: "It’s a massive implication for the whole of Hertfordshire – kids are coming from all over the place to take the exam."

Watford county councillor Mark Watkin is concerned if one child in a bubble tests positive for coronavirus. then large numbers from other schools could be forced into two weeks isolation.

He added: "I was shocked when Mrs Mills contacted me. Even more so when it became clear that the schools had not looked at alternative approaches.

"Why had they not pursued the running of the tests in the candidates’ local school? In their high-handed way they are ploughing on regardless. I just hope that children will not suffer from this experience."

A spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council and the consortium said the tests this weekend is in accordance with Government guidance and that risk assessments are in place at each school. They added that they have been subject to "intensive scrutiny by external agencies" which is satisfied that the the centres are working within guidance.

A spokesperson added: "Whilst there are some difference in approach between each of the venues as a consequence of different localities and infrastructure, all of the schools are working within a common framework."

For more information go to https://www.swhertsschools.org.uk/test-day-faqs/

Parmiter's School were also approached.