Schools

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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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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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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‘I don’t feel I can say no’: parents torn on sending children back to school | Schools

A fter the government’s U-turn over the full reopening of schools before September in England, parents remain divided about whether to send their children back. The Guardian spoke to some parents about their decision. ‘Obviously there is a worry, but he wants to go’ My son is supposed to be sitting his A-levels next year. I’ve got a friend whose son is at private school, and our children don’t get nearly the same experience. There are subject areas where we…

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‘White guilt on its own won’t fix racism’: decolonising Britain’s schools | Education

The medley of jubilant black, brown and white faces cheering the destruction of Edward Colston’s statue has had many rethinking. Discussing even. Britain, a nation not keen on making much of a fuss, is having to talk about slavery. For too long we would rather have dunked our digestives into mugs of tea and not bothered with dredging up our past. But what if we had all learned at school that the history of our great British brew is inseparable…

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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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Schools angered by holiday firm’s failure to refund cancelled trips | Education

An adventure holiday firm is facing a furious backlash and the threat of a boycott for failing to refund thousands of cancelled school trips. Teachers, parents and those representing education providers have lined up in recent days to condemn PGL, which has provided a host of school trips both in the UK and abroad since 1957. But with overnight stays and all foreign travel banned in the UK, and many schools still closed to large numbers of pupils, all trips…

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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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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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‘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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Organise catch-up summer schools to help disadvantaged pupils, UK told | Education

Pressure is mounting on the government to draw up plans for catch-up summer schools amid warnings that millions of pupils in England will face increasing distractions from home learning as lockdown measures are eased and shops reopen. The children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, said headteachers were worried that some of their disadvantaged pupils would struggle to ever get back into doing school work after such prolonged closures, because the leap required would be so big. She told MPs on…

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Fresh fears over primary schools after staff test positive for Covid-19 | Education

Unions have raised fresh concerns about the wider reopening of primary schools in England after a school in Derby was forced to remain closed this week when seven members of staff tested positive for Covid-19. Administrative and teaching staff at Arboretum primary school began to develop symptoms last week when the school was closed during half-term, so plans to open to more pupils had to be postponed until next Monday. In a separate incident, one of England’s largest academy chains…

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Michael Bloomberg donates £1m to fund online UK summer schools | Education

Michael Bloomberg, the US billionaire, is to donate more than £1m to fund a replacement for residential university summer schools for British disadvantaged pupils, the Sutton Trust has announced. Bloomberg, a former mayor of New York and presidential candidate, said the new online platform to be called Sutton Trust is intended to help the sixth-formers who would have been eligible for a place on the trust’s face-to-face programmes cancelled because of coronavirus. “The coronavirus crisis has presented a whole new…

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Drop plan to reopen English primary schools to all pupils, heads urge | Education

The government may be forced to drop plans for all primary school pupils in England to spend at least a month in class before the start of the summer holidays, as headteachers welcoming back the first groups of pupils following lockdown warned it was “ridiculous”. The initial phase of the government’s controversial reopening plans got off to a patchy start with many primary schools remaining closed to further pupils. For those that opened, attendance was as low as 40% in…

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