The parents of a teenager with special educational needs and disabilities are preparing to launch a High Court legal challenge against the Government over its guidance on Covid-19 testing for school pupils.

The family is calling for the guidance to be revised to enable children with disabilities to take “less intrusive” saliva tests as they say the current PCR swab testing unfairly disadvantages disabled pupils.

The parents of the 15-year-old have now instructed solicitors Irwin Mitchell to challenge the lawfulness of government guidance as their child is unable to take the PCR swab test due to their complex disabilities.

The guidance says pupils should follow public health advice, which says individuals should self-isolate “straight away and get a PCR test” if they have any of the three symptoms of Covid-19.

It adds pupils should continue to self-isolate whilst awaiting the PCR result.

But the parents from south-west London, who wish to remain anonymous to protect their child’s identity, say exceptions should be made for pupils who are unable to take a PCR test due to their special needs or disabilities.

Many pupils with severe disabilities are also unable to adequately complete the PCR testing required, the family’s legal team say.

Irwin Mitchell have written to Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi requesting that the guidance is revised to enable pupils with disabilities to take saliva tests.

If the Government does not change its guidance on Covid-19 PCR testing for pupils, or fails to respond to the letter, it could face a judicial review in the High Court, the lawyers say.

Angela Jackman, a specialist Irwin Mitchell lawyer representing the family, said: “This is an important issue because of the negative impact on potentially thousands of disabled pupils forced to miss vital schooling when they may not be infectious.

“It also has broader impact for individuals in other contexts who are unable to take a PCR test due their disabilities, with consequent impact upon their civil liberties if they are forced to self-isolate when they do not pose any Covid-19 risk.

“There are alternative Covid-19 tests which include saliva PCR tests or enhanced lateral flow tests which are much less intrusive and stressful for people such as our client.

“These tests are considered acceptable in other settings. We’re asking the Government to amend the guidance for schools to help disabled pupils through the testing process.”

A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesman said: “We recognise that the testing experience can be difficult for some people, which is why there are two options available for Covid-19 testing.

“Those who are unable to take a Covid-19 test and have symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate, are advised to continue to self-isolate as a household and follow the latest government guidance.”