Coronavirus outbreak

What a 200-year-old experiment can teach anxious parents about home schooling | Education

For perhaps the first time in the history of modern education, millions of primary and secondary students may begin the school year from home. While pupils in England are due to return to in-person learning this September, uncertainty remains as cases rise, local lockdowns are implemented, and the scientific community warns that the government’s test and trace system is not up to the job of containing potential spikes caused by the return of schools. Some parents may choose not to…

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English schools to get £1bn to help pupils catch up after lockdown | Education

The government is to give an extra £650m to schools in England to help pupils catch up on teaching missed during the coronavirus lockdown since March, as part of a £1bn package. Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, will announce the funding on Friday, which will also include a separate £350m in subsidies for a one-year national tutoring programme – as revealed by the Guardian – to help the most disadvantaged children in their education by offering low-cost tuition for schools…

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UK language students prepare for virtual year abroad in their bedrooms | Higher education

What is a virtual year abroad – and is there any point in it? That is the question Reece Jack, of Troon, South Ayrshire, is asking, along with thousands of other languages students whose year abroad has been cancelled or is in doubt. Jack, a second-year student of business and French at Strathclyde University, thinks the idea of shared “virtual year abroad” resources across universities, being offered as a partial replacement for the real experience, is “delusional”. “Students will not…

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Headteachers berate non-stop guidance changes for England’s schools | Education

At Huntington secondary school in York this week, the headteacher, John Tomsett, thought he was just about ready for the return of year 10s. He’d spent £20,000 making the school Covid-19 secure for the wider reopening, buying 16 mobile handwashing units and 15 extra walkie-talkies to ease a complex one-in-one-out toilet system. Paul Mussell, the school premises manager, was about to be dispatched to an industrial estate in Keighley to buy up Yorkshire’s remaining supply of hazard tape to mark…

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Act now to minimise the damage to education | Letter | Education

Following the decision to slow down the return to school for most pupils, it is time for the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, and the government to admit to the critical nature of the situation and embark on a national campaign to be ready for the start of the new school year in September (Boris Johnson urged to set out recovery plan for schools in England, 9 June). I am a governor of a primary school and from the start, as…

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Reopening schools: what is happening in England? | Education

What is the latest on primary schools reopening in England? The government has done a U-turn. It began a phased reopening of schools in England last week, with primary schools opening to children in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6 from 1 June, after all schools were closed from 23 March to curb the spread of coronavirus. Boris Johnson’s goal, however, was that all primary school children in England should be back in class for a month before the…

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Ofsted chief calls for a more can-do approach to primaries reopening | Education

The chief inspector of schools, Amanda Spielman, has expressed her disappointment that primary schools will not be reopening before the summer, amid continuing concern about the government’s failure to prioritise children’s education in the coronavirus crisis. The head of Ofsted said she was saddened that people are “perhaps more frightened than they actually need to be” and called for as much preparation to be done for September reopening as possible before the summer holidays, which start next next month. Giving…

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Ex-Ofsted chief: failure to plan for reopening of schools is ‘astonishing’ | Education

The government’s failure to plan to get children back to school safely is “absolutely astonishing” and must be remedied before September, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former chief inspector of schools in England, has said. Wilshaw, who led Ofsted from 2012 until 2016, said schools will need to put in place recovery programmes, appeal to teachers to run catch-up classes over the summer and even allow some of the most affected to repeat their school year. The government has been criticised…

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Boris Johnson urged to set out recovery plan for schools in England | Education

Boris Johnson needs an urgent national plan to get all pupils back to school in England from September, with an army of support staff, the requisitioning of public buildings and extra help for disadvantaged students, unions and cross-party MPs have said. As the government admitted that most primary pupils in England would not get back to the classroom before summer, ministers were urged to set out a comprehensive strategy or risk an “epidemic of educational poverty”. Gavin Williamson, the education…

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School reopening plans in tatters as only 25% of pupils in England return | Education

Only one in four children returned to schools in England last week, wrecking Boris Johnson’s ambitions for a phased reopening of schools to allow parents back to work to boost the economy. According to official statistics published by the government, just over half of primary schools in England reopened to more pupils last week. Only a quarter of pupils who were eligible to return from 1 June, the first week that schools in England began admitting more children in reception,…

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New UK teachers’ union chief: ‘Institutional racism in schools has got to be addressed’ | Education

As the son of immigrant workers new to the UK, and growing up in the West Midlands, Patrick Roach never imagined he would one day be a trade union leader on first-name terms with government ministers. His parents, however, who arrived from Jamaica in the 1960s, believed in the power of education to change lives and were ambitious for him. So the new general secretary of the NASUWT, the 300,000-member teachers’ union, who took up his post in April, went…

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Plans to reopen English primary schools before summer in disarray | Education

Plans to push ahead with reopening schools in England are in disarray, after the government admitted that not all primary school pupils will be able to return to the classroom before the end of summer. Boris Johnson last month said his aim was “to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages,” as he announced the opening of primary schools to pupils in reception, year one and year six from 1 June. But government sources now acknowledge that – with…

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Lecturer and student relationships matter even more online than on campus | Kate Roll and Marc Ventresca | Education

In a matter of weeks, universities have changed how we teach in at least one important way: we’re now online. It is now becoming clear that this shift may last at least into the new academic year and likely longer. As lecturers, this is not necessarily something to be afraid of: it’s an unparalleled opportunity to rethink teaching and to refocus on relationships with students. In the early days of teaching online, the focus was on recreating the familiar set-up of…

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Universities face £460m loss from expected drop in east Asian students | International students

UK universities have been told to expect a sharp fall in the number of new international students coming next year, including a loss of up to £460m in income from students from east Asia. A new survey of international students by the British Council has found that nearly 14,000 fewer students from eight countries – including China, Singapore and Malaysia – are likely to come to the UK in 2020/21 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The decline of…

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‘We’re still waiting’: schools lack free laptops pledged for poorer GCSE pupils | Education

Headteachers fear the government’s promise to deliver laptops to disadvantaged teenagers will not be fulfilled as the majority said this weekend they had still received none.  On 19 April, the secretary of state for education, Gavin Williamson, announced the scheme, claiming it would “take the pressure off” parents and schools, and support children without any access to online learning while schools were shut.  Yet, with just a week to go before secondary schools reopen more widely to pupils on 15…

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Schools in north-west of England postpone reopening plans after new coronavirus data | Education

More schools have shelved plans to reopen on Monday, after new data suggested coronavirus could still be spreading in the north-west of England. Health officials at Blackburn with Darwen council, which runs 85 schools in Lancashire, emailed local schools on Friday evening advising them not to reopen on Monday morning. The same advice has been given by public health officials in Tameside, Greater Manchester, to delay reopening for pupils other than vulnerable children and those of key workers, to 22…

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