Children

UK councils face lawsuits over access to education in lockdown | Education

The UK government must ensure pupils from poor backgrounds have computers and internet connections during the coronavirus lockdown or face legal action for depriving children of their education, according to a group of legal activists. The Good Law Project argues that the widespread reliance on online learning during the lockdown is illegally disadvantaging state school pupils who lack access to tablets, laptops or adequate broadband. It says it will sue local authorities to try to push the government into action.…

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Council leaders call for funding for free school meals over Easter | Education

City leaders have said some of England’s most vulnerable children could go hungry over the Easter holidays because the UK government is refusing to fund free meals. Councils have been told they can continue to provide free school meals during the break if they want to but will have to find the money themselves. The mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, and the leaders of Birmingham and Leeds city councils, Ian Ward and Judith Blake, have written to the education secretary,…

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Covid-19 reveals the alarming truth that many children can’t wash their hands at school | Laura McInerney | Education

Global crises often bring surprises for schools. The first world war flagged up the high number of young soldiers who couldn’t read or write. In the second world war, middle-class country families despaired when evacuated children showed up malnourished and riven with lice. In the aftermath of both, politicians determined to make life better: focusing schools more on literacy and introducing daily milk and school nurses. Pandemics, like wars, temporarily change our way of life. Change happens fast. Schools may…

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‘Let your kids get bored’: emergency advice from teachers on schooling at home | Education

School may have closed for the foreseeable future, and all exams cancelled, but children still need to be educated and entertained – as well as reassured. Many schools plan to send work home and there are lots of free resources available via online platforms such as BBC Teach. But meanwhile, how do you even start home learning when this is all so new? We asked teachers for their emergency advice. Parents of primary children Prioritise your child’s wellbeing “Great learning…

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The Guardian view on life without school: not a level playing field | Opinion

What was, just a few days ago, the object of excited speculation among British children has become a reality. Schools are shut. For an unspecified period, learning will take place at home, except for a minority of pupils who are deemed to be vulnerable, or whose parents are key workers. Closing schools was a necessary step that should have been taken sooner, as it was in other countries. But the change in our national life that will begin on Monday…

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For children to learn they must be well fed | Letters | Education

What a sad reflection on the times we live in that there should even have to be a “debate” as to whether schools should provide free school meals to children at Key Stage 1 (Free school meals: should the taxpayer continue to fund them?, 10 March). Those against, such as Vic Goddard, CEO of a multi-academy trust (note the corporate title with all that implies about the marketisation of the state school system), seem to resort to the “only a…

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School uniform costs ‘break the bank’ for poorer families | Education

The rising cost of school uniforms risks “breaking the bank” for poorer families as more state schools demand costly branded items and local authorities cut clothing grants, a new report warns. With millions of children preparing to return to school, a study from charity Family Action, which supports disadvantaged families, says many poorer parents will have paid out 40% of their monthly income in August on “back-to-school costs” alone. It calculates that the bill for equipping a child for the…

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Instead of rote learning useless facts, children should be taught wellbeing | Alice O’Keeffe | Opinion

In his treatise on the future of humanity, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, the philosopher-historian Yuval Noah Harari offers the young people of today some advice. In order to survive and thrive in adulthood, they should not rely on traditional academic skills such as solving equations or learning computer code. These will soon become obsolete in a world in which computers can perform such techniques more quickly and accurately than humans. All information-based jobs, in fields as diverse as…

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Britain’s battle to get to grips with literacy is laid bare in H is for Harry | Education

Life repeats itself, Grant says dejectedly. “It’s just repeat, repeat, repeat. I had it, my dad had it, and now my son’s going to have it.” He’s talking about illiteracy, which has trapped his family in poverty and shame for generations. But Grant is desperate to break the cycle. His hopes are pinned on his son, Harry, the engaging star of a new documentary that tracks the boy’s struggles with reading and writing during his first two years at secondary…

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Teachers call for action to save crisis-hit state nursery schools | Education

State nurseries in Britain are facing a financial crisis after years of “unjustifiable neglect” and indecision by the government, teachers warn as they prepare to petition the prime minister to “save maintained nursery schools”. Headteachers, parents and children will gather at Downing Street on Monday to hand in a petition calling for increased state funding for nurseries to secure their long-term future. Maintained nurseries are run and inspected like schools, with qualified teachers leading a team of early years specialists,…

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Nurseries ‘failing vulnerable children’ amid staffing crisis | Education

The former children’s commissioner for England has called for an investigation into early years education amid concerns about a staff recruitment crisis in nurseries due to lack of training and low morale. Sir Al Aynsley-Green accused the government of denying the importance of children’s early years and depriving the most vulnerable in society of the support they need when very young. Aynsley-Green, a paediatric endocrinologist who served as the children’s commissioner for England from 2005 to 2009, said an independent…

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Children are reading less than ever before, research reveals | Education

Children today read less frequently than any previous generation and enjoy reading less than young people did in the past, according to new research. The work, to be published by the National Literacy Trust in the run-up to World Book Day on Thursday, shows that in 2019 just 26% of under-18s spent some time each day reading. This is the lowest daily level recorded since the charity first surveyed children’s reading habits in 2005. It also found that fewer children…

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Children schooled at home up 13% despite fears over lack of regulation | Education

The number of children who are home-educated in England has gone up almost 13% in the last year, amid concern that many parents are unable to provide a suitable education, according to a report. Official figures published by the government’s school admissions watchdog revealed that more than 60,000 pupils were home-schooled in 2018/19, up from around 52,000 the previous year. A similar survey in 2015-16 estimated that 37,000 school-aged children were registered as home-educated. Because there is currently no requirement…

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Richard More: the Shropshire outcast who sailed to riches on the Mayflower | Education

He was only six when he was disowned by his wealthy father, torn from his adulterous mother and shipped to America with the pilgrims on the Mayflower to begin a new life as a servant. For centuries, the extraordinary tale of the Shropshire childhood of Richard More – a celebrated New England sea captain and one of the “first comers” to America – was lost in the mists of time. Now a group of local historians hopes to reignite interest…

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70 million children get no education, says report | Education

Almost 70 million children across the world are prevented from going to school each day, a study published today reveals. Those living in north-eastern Africa are the least likely to receive a good education – or any education at all, an umbrella body of charities and teaching unions known as the Global Campaign for Education has found. It ranks the world’s poorest countries according to their education systems. Somalia has the least functional system in the world with just 10%…

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Birmingham school stops LGBT lessons after parents protest | Education

A primary school that taught pupils about homosexuality as part of a programme to challenge homophobia has stopped the lessons after hundreds of children were withdrawn by parents in protest. Parkfield community school in Saltley, Birmingham, has been the scene of weekly protests over the lessons, which parents claim are promoting gay and transgender lifestyles. In a letter to parents, the school said: “Up to the end of this term, we will not be delivering any No Outsiders lessons in…

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