Secondary schools

TikTok and a shoulder to cry on: why pupils in Gloucestershire wish lockdown school would never end | Education

“We call it ‘strange school’,” says Caitlin, 15, slightly raising her voice across the the open space of the school hall where the pupils are carefully observing physical distancing. “Literally everything here is different now.” Since lockdown, Caitlin has been coming to school five days a week, as she is among those whose schooling is considered a priority. With three younger siblings at home, she has to take on “a lot of responsibility for helping out”. Even in normal times,…

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Smaller class sizes should become the new normal in state schools | Schools

L ooking beyond the present closure of schools to a “new normal”, and addressing the issue of disadvantage (Letters, 18 May), the obvious answer is to give those children who have fallen further behind during this crisis the advantage that has benefited so many in private education: smaller class sizes. The current government guidance of class sizes of 15, if extended beyond the lockdown, as opposed to the state-school norm of up to 30 children, would hugely benefit all pupils.…

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PM accepts some English primary schools may not return on 1 June | Education

Boris Johnson is pressing ahead with plans to reopen schools on 1 June but moved to appease councils and teaching unions by acknowledging for the first time that primary schools in England won’t have to reopen to more pupils until they are prepared. The acknowledgment by the prime minister came in his opening statement at the daily Covid-19 press conference on Sunday, in which Johnson said the government wanted primary schools to plan for allowing pupils in reception, year one…

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‘I had two separate lives’: LGBT teachers learn to speak up and get promotion | Education

Like many LGBT teachers, Bradley Saunders learned to live a double life. To his close friends and family he was a young gay man in a steady relationship, while at the primary school where he worked his home life was a secret. He avoided questions about weekends, pretended to go on holiday with his family, and did not take his partner to school social events. So when after four years he moved to a job as director of learning for…

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When will UK schools reopen – and how will they keep children safe? | Education

In just over a fortnight, the first pupils in England should start returning to school for the first time since 20 March. But a lot remains unclear. Who will be be returning first and when? According to a plan for English schools unveiled by Boris Johnson, from 1 June primary schools will bring back reception, year one and year six classes, as well as nursery children, if they have them. Also, nurseries and other early years providers would open. In…

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Like the Open University, we now need an Open School for the whole country | Tim Brighouse and Bob Moon | Education

When the Covid-19 emergency is over, schools will face a monumental task. Children who have been learning at home will need support in making the transition to the “in school” curriculum. The needs of disadvantaged youngsters, who will have fallen even further behind during the closure, will have to be a priority. We cannot just think of the lockdown as a very long holiday with schools able to pick up as if nothing had happened. Many teachers have been displaying…

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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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Grammar schools created lasting divisions | Education

J oan Bakewell rightly praises the 1944 Education Act for establishing free secondary education (VE Day was the spark for change. Coronavirus could be too, 8 May), thus giving her the opportunity to study at a Stockport grammar school. Oddly though, she says the 11-plus exam “split educational options”. There was no grammar school option for those who “failed” the 11-plus. I wonder if the children whose self-esteem took a tumble felt they were part of a “more equitable society”.…

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Most UK pupils unlikely to return until new school year | Education

Boris Johnson has said he wants to press ahead with a rapid reopening of primary schools in England on 1 June while older pupils remain at home, despite safety concerns from parents, school leaders and unions. The announcement would mean that school will remain shut to the majority of children for the remainder of the school year, with most secondary school pupils in England and most pupils in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland unlikely to return before the end of…

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‘The human stuff matters’: heads call for a kinder school system post Covid-19 | Education

Schools closed, exams cancelled, a halt to Ofsted inspections and performance tables. Even the weirdest misfit futurologist employed by the prime minister’s adviser, Dominic Cummings, couldn’t have envisaged that, 10 years on from the start of the coalition government, the UK would be locked down with a partially functioning school system. Normal politics seems a distant memory. It could be 100 years, rather than 10, since Michael Gove, now a minister at the heart of the Covid-19 battle, was trumpeting…

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Revealed: year six primary school pupils may return on 1 June | Education

Government scientific advisers are examining the impact of letting children in their final year of primary school return to classrooms from 1 June, the Guardian has learned. Boris Johnson is due to announce next Sunday that year six children, aged 10 and 11, will be the first cohort allowed back into schools since he announced their closure on 18 March, to be closely followed by years 10 and 12. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) is said to be…

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Primary schools in England could reopen on 1 June, reports say | Schools

Primary schools are to be prioritised for reopening, Boris Johnson has indicated, with reports suggesting that groups of pupils could return to classrooms as early as 1 June as the coronavirus lockdown is eased. “One of the things we want to do as fast as we can is get certainly primary schools back,” the prime minister told the Sun on Sunday. “It’s not going to be easy but that’s where we want to go. It’s about working out a way…

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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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‘The gap will be bigger than ever’: grammar school exams still going ahead | Education

In this time of crisis, exams are off: GCSEs, A-levels, Sats. All except one … the 11-plus, a test that was phased out in most parts of the country decades ago, but that means everything to families in areas still operating a system of grammars and de facto secondary moderns. A quick scan of grammar school websites around the country shows that, so far, it is business as usual. The entire world may have stopped in its tracks but, in…

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Schools and exam boards undermine promise to pupils of September tests | Education

A row is brewing between examination boards, schools, the government and England’s exam regulator over whether pupils unhappy with their assessed GCSE or A-level grades will have the chance to sit the exams in autumn, as promised. When the Department for Education and Ofqual, the exam regulator, announced that this summer’s GCSE and A-level exams would be cancelled and replaced with assessed grades, students were told they would have the option to take the exams “as soon as reasonably possible”…

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BBC’s homeschool stars: Spanish with Agüero, music with Mabel, and … history with Danny Dyer | Education

After the relative peace of the two-week Easter break, millions of parents this week will return – some heavy-hearted, others eager – to their kitchen tables and home computers to resume their children’s DIY lockdown education. With schools remaining closed for the foreseeable future, home school is back and fresh help is at hand. On Monday the BBC will launch an education service for children locked out of school by the Covid-19 pandemic, complete with a starry array of talented…

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