Department for Education

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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Decade of progress in tackling pupil disadvantage ‘wiped out’ | Education

Nearly 10 years of progress in narrowing the attainment gap in England between disadvantaged pupils and their classmates has probably been “wiped in a few months” due to the coronavirus pandemic, a study has found. Analysis by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) charity said the closure of schools to most pupils 10 weeks ago was likely to reverse all progress made to close the gap since 2011. Responding to the findings, Russell Hobby, the chief executive of Teach First, a…

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Plan to cap numbers at UK universities to go ahead | Education

The UK government is going ahead with controversial plans to limit the number of students from England who can enrol at universities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, rejecting opposition from the devolved administrations. Education ministers from Scotland and Wales angrily denounced the move, which they said was designed to stop damaging competition for students among English universities but could instead destabilise their own institutions. Michelle Donelan, the higher education minister for England, held meetings throughout the day with her…

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Scottish and Welsh universities criticise UK cap on student numbers | Education

University leaders have reacted angrily to the UK government’s plan to control the number of students from England who can study in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, saying that it was punishing them for problems caused by the coronavirus outbreak in England. The Department for Education in England is expected to confirm a cap on the number of undergraduates each university can recruit this autumn – limiting institutions to an increase of no more than 6.5% in the number of…

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England to limit students going to Wales, Scotland and N Ireland | Education

The government in Westminster will limit the number of students from England who can go to university in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland next year, leading to accusations that it is “trampling on devolution”. As part of its plans to cap the number of undergraduates that universities in England can teach in 2020-21, the Department for Education (DfE) is also to announce on Monday that it will extend the cap to include English students applying to higher education outside England.…

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Plans to reopen English schools ‘fail to address risk to BAME staff’ | Education

A leading teaching union has warned the prime minister that plans to reopen schools more widely next month fail to address that coronavirus poses a greater risk to black and minority ethnic pupils and staff. Patrick Roach, the general secretary of the NASUWT, called on Boris Johnson to ensure that the government’s approach to reopening state education will address the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME people. In his letter, the union leader requested urgent clarification from ministers that they…

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Thousands of A-level students could lose their unconditional university offers | Education

Thousands of A-level students could have their unconditional university offers withdrawn this summer, as ministers and the higher education regulator try to crack down on panic offers made during the pandemic. Sources at Westminster say the universities minister, Michelle Donelan, is determined to constrain universities, after private government data showed that 30,000 offers that had been dependent on A-level grades were suddenly switched to “unconditional” when the pandemic struck in March. The competition to recruit UK students will be more…

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Testing four-year-olds to begin in September – but parents kept in dark | Education

Sophia is four and shy, especially around strangers. In September she starts school and Hayley Phillips, her mother, already worried about how her daughter will settle in, has found out she will have to sit a test. In the first six weeks of the new school year, four- and five-year-olds in nearly 10,000 schools, about half of the primary schools in England, will be taken out of class and asked questions for the new reception baseline assessment (RBA). Phillips knew…

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England plans to send the wrong children back to school at the wrong time | Laura McInerney | Education

We have built a world where parents need the childcare provided by the school system. In some families parents are working at night, or rising at 5am to sustain a struggling business before their children wake up. They may more urgently feel the need for schools to reopen than those who can happily juggle a few hours of homeschooling with working from home. But think about what primary teachers are facing with the prospect of suddenly going back to school…

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Prolonged school closures risk damaging children’s education, No 10 warns | Schools

Downing Street has warned of the risks to children’s education of prolonging school closures, as the government doubles down on plans for a phased reopening from 1 June. Education unions have reacted angrily to the plan, which would see reception and years 1 and 6 return first, calling it “reckless”, and warning that schools have not been given enough time to prepare. Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, wrote in the Daily Mail that teachers should be ready to “do their…

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Opening schools could fuel coronavirus spread, DfE adviser admits | Schools

Reopening primary schools in England from the start of next month could fuel the spread of coronavirus, one of the government’s scientific advisers has admitted. Osama Rahman, chief scientific adviser to the Department for Education (DfE), appeared to undermine the government’s case for reopening schools when he gave evidence to the Commons science and technology committee on Wednesday. Questioned by MPs, he admitted that a wider reopening of schools could bring together “hundreds of potential vectors” that could lead to…

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Families sue UK government over ‘little or no education’ for their children | Education

Four families who say their children have received “little or no” education since schools in England were closed to most pupils have started legal action against the government. Lawyers acting for the families say their intention is to sue the government over its failure to ensure access to the online learning that has largely replaced classroom teaching since March, because the four are unable to afford laptops or internet connections. Clare Jennings, a solicitor at the law firm Matthew Gold,…

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Government refuses multi-billion pound bailout for universities | Education

Universities’ hopes of a long-term government bailout in England have been dashed, though £2.6bn in tuition fees will be paid early and ministers pledged to allow full fees to be charged even if students were unable to return to lecture theatres. Michelle Donelan, the universities minister, said institutions could continue to charge the full £9,250 annual tuition fee for undergraduates while campuses remained closed and face-to-face classes were suspended as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, as long high standards…

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Teachers in England condemn speculation over school reopenings | Education

School leaders have called for an end to “irresponsible speculation” over dates for schools in England to reopen, as ministers were forced to reject suggestions that many pupils would be back in classrooms next month. The Sunday Times claimed that “senior ministers” had backed a plan for schools to partially reopen on three possible dates: immediately after the current lockdown is scheduled to end on 11 May; after the half-term holiday on 1 June; or at the start of the…

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Ministers split over bailout package for universities | Education

Ministers are split over a bailout package for universities, as vice-chancellors warn of bankruptcies in the Midlands and north of England and new figures reinforce fears that international students will avoid the UK during the coronavirus outbreak. Discussions over extra support are said to have run into an impasse between the Treasury, led by the chancellor Rishi Sunak, and the Department for Education. The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, is arguing for a stabilisation package that would offset the enormous losses…

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Thousands of pupils set to miss out on first-choice primary school | Primary schools

Thousands of parents in England are expected to miss out on their first choice of primary school on Tuesday when local authorities notify families where their child will start their education in September. About half a million families will be contacted on national offer day, mainly by email. Although pressure on places in primary schools has eased slightly in some areas of the country, headteachers have warned an increasingly fragmented school system has led to a lack of coordinated planning…

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