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Lockdown from a teenager’s perspective | Letter | Education

When I heard schools were going to close, I was like every other 15-year-old: excited. Thinking home schooling would be great. What could be better than not having to get up at the crack of dawn or rushing to get out of the house? For the first few weeks it was brilliant, until the novelty started to wear off. The pandemic has made me realise how much students take teachers for granted. Now, if I’m stuck on a piece of…

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The Observer view on how the debate on schools has been dangerously mishandled | Observer editorial | Opinion

Decisions about how to mitigate and control this pandemic are some of the most thorny and complex that governments have ever had to make. Every day, choices must be made that trade off different risks and harms on the basis of highly uncertain evidence. Be sceptical of anyone who pretends these decisions are easy. Perhaps none is more high-stakes than how to keep children as safe as possible from the effects of the pandemic. So it is unsurprising that the…

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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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Office life is not over – but the way we work must surely change | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion

“Don’t bother coming back to the office.” It’s the kind of message everyone dreads receiving, but for Twitter’s employees it was benign. The tech company announced this week that home-working arrangements made for the pandemic would stay for good: nobody need ever commute in again, unless they particularly wanted to. In Britain, the telecoms giant BT also declared that staff could choose whether to come back to call centres or just carry on from home. The idea that office life…

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‘It’s OK for teachers to cry’: how to handle bereavement in school | Education

It was a Friday afternoon. With lessons over for another week, Jill Evans, a deputy headteacher in Herefordshire, set off for a weekend away, telling the school’s head, Julie Rees, her friend and colleague, that she would see her on Monday. She didn’t. Over the weekend Evans, 58, was killed in a car accident. By Monday morning, Rees was not only having to process her own grief but also putting structures in place to help Ledbury primary’s 440 pupils, plus…

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Women’s research plummets during lockdown – but articles from men increase | Education

In April Dr Elizabeth Hannon, deputy editor of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, noticed that the number of article submissions she was receiving from women had dropped dramatically. Not so from men. “Negligible number of submissions to the journal from women in the last month,” she posted on Twitter. “Never seen anything like it.” The response was an outpouring of recognition from frustrated female academics, saying they were barely coping with childcare and work during the coronavirus…

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‘I feel I’ve come home’: can forest schools help heal refugee children? | Education

When Kate Milman was 21, she paused her English degree at the University of East Anglia to join protests against the Newbury bypass. It was 1996, and the road was being carved out through idyllic wooded countryside in Berkshire. She took up residence in a treehouse, in the path of the bulldozers, and lived there for months. It was a revelation. She lived intimately with the catkins, the calling birds, the slow-slow-fast change in the seasons. Despite being in a…

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Italian lessons: what we’ve learned from two months of home schooling | Education

Most of us in Emilia-Romagna, in northern Italy, remember the weekend of 22 February very clearly. To begin with there were just rumours – phone calls and messages flying around between friends – but then it was confirmed: all schools in the region were going to close for a week. The decision was, in many ways, shocking. At that time, there had only been three deaths from Covid-19 in Italy, and only 152 reported infections. It seemed strange that education…

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Domestic detention and oxbow lakes: helpline offers home-schooling advice | Education

Parents and carers struggling to teach phonics to one child and physics to another at home during the coronavirus lockdown will now be able to call up expert help. A group of schools in England have set up a national helpline operating six days a week to allow parents to find someone who can explain the mysteries of trigonometry, oxbow lakes and the Schleswig-Holstein Question if they cannot. Justine Roberts, the founder of Mumsnet, is one of those backing the…

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Farewell, workplace burnout: will coronavirus slow the manic pace of our modern lives? | Johanna Leggatt | Opinion

Many of us aren’t sleeping properly, are drinking too much, and can hardly remember what our life was like pre-lockdown. We wake each morning in the new normal to check our notifications with a roiling unease, peeking at our phones through parted fingers. What now? What else? Yet amid the fear and anxiety a clarifying mood has emerged. Now that everything is upended we are forced to evaluate what and who we love, what brings us joy and what drains…

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As the lockdown bites, it’s women who are taking the strain | Gaby Hinsliff | Opinion

Flicking through our slowly emptying family calendar, a relic of a more innocent age jumps out. “Back to school”, it says in thick black pen, across the beginning of next week. Well, dream on. Across Europe schools are now tentatively beginning to reopen, at least in countries such as Denmark which locked down earlier than we did; German schools too are likely to start returning from early May. But in Britain, it might be half term before that can be…

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No spare time in lockdown? That’s not such a bad thing | Life and style

From the minute we went into lockdown, there’s been a lively discussion, online and elsewhere, about how to fill all our extra spare time. We parents of small children permitted ourselves a hollow laugh at that (before immediately worrying that the hollow laugh was turning into a dry cough). Because for us, there was suddenly no time at all. Every waking second was accounted for, so the advice that we might seize this opportunity to reread the novels of Jane…

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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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After just half a day of home-schooling, I am officially in awe of all teachers | Emma Brockes | Opinion

We are doing a writing exercise at the kitchen table, about 90 minutes into home-schooling. So far, it’s gone quite well. I’ve drawn a grid with alphabetised headers and I’m dictating words for my five-year-old to write down. There was a brief dispute about which pen to use – she picked up a permanent marker, then wouldn’t accept, in spite of my reasoning, that it was 100% the wrong pen – but now we’re on track. I’ve totally got this,…

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National secondary school offer day: everything you need to know | Education

What is offer day? It’s been a long time coming but on Tuesday more than half a million children who are in their final year of primary school find out whether they got into their first choice of secondary school. After hours spent reading prospectuses, attending open evenings and filling in forms, parents submitted their applications for a secondary school place in England at the end of October. After months of waiting they will begin to receive email notifications on…

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Scotland is tackling barriers for estranged students – so should the rest of the UK | Becca Bland | Education

This week the Scottish government announced the first review of its kind into estranged young people in universities. This will bring vital recognition for those who exist off the radar of the care system but have no relationship with their parents. Not only will it gather data on these people for the first time, it will consider extending to them the bursary and corporate parenting entitlements that care-experienced young people receive. This is a critically important move. We often assume…

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