Schools

Private schools in UK struggling as coronavirus costs bite | Education

Private schools in the UK are facing a battle for survival in the face of the coronavirus crisis as parents who have lost their income cancel direct debits and overseas pupils who have gone home decide whether to return. As the economic fallout from the pandemic begins to bite, there are fears that a number of smaller independent schools, which are already struggling, will be driven out of business. Many are offering fee discounts of anything from 10% right up…

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Councillor’s ‘oven-ready’ scheme to force private schools to pay their bit | Education

When councillor Libby Lisgo visits one of the most deprived estates in Taunton, in her ward of Priorswood, she can see the fence of Taunton school, one of the area’s famous independent schools. “While we are struggling to raise funds to take local residents on rare day trips, I can see a fleet of minibuses on the other side of that fence, sitting idle,” she says. “And I can’t help thinking: ‘Gosh, if only we could access those from time…

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Schools asked to donate science goggles for NHS to use as face shields | Education

Schools across England are being asked to donate science goggles and other apparatus to the NHS due to a shortage of protective equipment for doctors dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. The Guardian has heard from a number of schools and teachers who are responding to urgent messages from NHS trusts that need face shields as they deal with a growing number of cases. NHS England and the government have made a major effort since the weekend to address concerns about…

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Last year one Oxford college admitted 96% of its students from state schools. How did they do it? | Education

Erin Minogue has vivid memories of her Oxbridge application process. The words hard and daunting crop up frequently as she describes her journey from a Midlands comprehensive, then sixth-form college, to one of the most elite universities in the world. Oxford has felt “one step removed from me”, she explains. “A friend of a friend had been, but I didn’t have any family reference points so it felt very tough.” Now, about to sit her English finals, Minogue is a…

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Low attendance at scaled-down schools sparks fears for vulnerable pupils | World news

Children identified as vulnerable and therefore entitled to a place in emergency school provision during the coronavirus outbreak failed to turn up on Monday, raising concerns among headteachers about their safety. On Friday, schools closed their gates indefinitely to all students, apart from the children of key workers vital in the fight against Covid-19 and those identified as vulnerable, either because they have significant special educational needs or have a social worker. School leaders worked frantically over the weekend, contacting…

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Schools tell employers: don’t put profit over people with key worker lists | Education

Education leaders have told companies not to put profit over people, claiming attempts to stop the spread of coronavirus could fail if too many parents try to keep their children in school. Only children of key workers – including medics, police and food distribution staff – are eligible for places from Monday. Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, urged parents to “only leave your child at school if you have no other choice”. “My…

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Some UK schools looking at unregulated exams to replace GCSEs and A-Levels | Education

Some schools in the UK are investigating the use of unregulated examinations to get around the government’s decision to cancel A-level and GCSEs exams this summer over coronavirus fears, the Guardian has learned. A group of schools have been discussing the possible use of qualifications such as international GCSEs known as iGCSEs, or alternatives to A-levels known as Pre-U or international A-levels, which are offered by examination boards AQA and Cambridge Assessments and are almost exclusively used by independent schools.…

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Scotland and Wales to close schools by Friday due to coronavirus | Education

Schools in Wales and Scotland will close by the end of this week, as Boris Johnson hinted that a similar decision on closing schools in England was “imminent”. The Welsh education minister, Kirsty Williams, said schools were to close by Friday at the latest, and would then be repurposed to provide childcare and supervision for children affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including the children of key workers. “From next week, schools will have a new purpose. They will help support…

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Schools in England struggle to stay open as coronavirus hits attendance | Education

Schools across England are struggling to stay open, with some forced to partially or fully close as staff and students stay at home, while the UK remains one of only two European countries – alongside Belarus – with a policy of keeping them open. Headteachers have said they were blindsided by Monday’s government advice for the public to avoid non-essential contact. Pressure has been growing on the government to shut schools, after Finland announced wholescale closures on Monday and Sweden…

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Schools in England could close when teachers self-isolate | Education

Growing numbers of schools in England could be forced to close and send children home as a result of staff shortages, as teachers with symptoms follow government guidance to self-isolate, teaching unions have warned. The government confirmed on Monday schools should remain open in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak for the time being but school leaders fear this may not be possible if there are too few staff available to teach and supervise pupils. Mary Bousted, joint general secretary…

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‘We batter them with kindness’: schools that reject super-strict values | Education

It is a bitterly cold Yorkshire morning and outside a school in Barnsley staff are involved in the most important part of the school day. “All right, Kyle?” asks Dave Whitaker, the executive principal of Springwell special academy. “Morning, Kenzie. I saw some lovely writing of yours last night.” One by one, the children are greeted by staff with a warm smile and a personalised hello. The teachers’ enthusiasm, however genuine, is rarely reciprocated. Some students scowl, others grunt a…

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Schools close in north-east Kenya after al-Shabaab targets teachers | Global development

A series of targeted killings of schoolteachers by a militia group in Kenya has seen an exodus of staff and the closure of hundreds of schools across the north-east of the country. Thousands of teachers have left their posts in the past two months following several suspected al-Shabaab attacks in the region. Schools in rural areas near the Somali border have been badly hit. On 13 January, suspected members of the Somalia-based terrorist group al-Shabaab attacked the village of Kamuthe…

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Charities preparing to feed children if schools shut over coronavirus | Education

A charity led by the archbishop of Canterbury is preparing to help feed children if schools are closed by coronavirus, amid fears the withdrawal of free school dinners could leave up to 3 million children at risk of hunger. Feeding Britain, which runs food poverty schemes in 12 areas of England including Cornwall, Leicester, Barnsley and South Shields, is exploring how to set up emergency programmes similar to those used to feed the poorest children during the summer holidays. The…

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Boston public schools map switch aims to amend 500 years of distortion | Education

When Boston public schools introduced a new standard map of the world this week, some young students’ felt their jaws drop. In an instant, their view of the world had changed. The USA was small. Europe too had suddenly shrunk. Africa and South America appeared narrower but also much larger than usual. And what had happened to Alaska? In an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, city authorities are confident their new map offers something closer to the geographical…

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Heads and councils press for extra £5.5bn for ‘struggling’ schools | Education

An alliance of headteachers, school governors, councils and unions are to lobby the chancellor for a further £5.5bn a year to help schools in England to avoid financial difficulties and cuts. The coalition, involving almost every significant organisation involved in state schools – including the National Governors Association and a bipartisan group representing both Conservative and Labour-led councils – is writing to Rishi Sunak before next week’s budget seeking additional funds, with a focus on “woefully underfunded” provision for pupils…

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State schools choose ‘posh’ uniforms to exclude poor pupils, says MP | Education

Some schools are deliberately pricing school uniforms beyond the means of poorer families so “only posh kids go there”, MPs have been told. Emma Hardy, the Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, has written to the education secretary, Damian Hinds, asking him to tell schools to stop forcing parents to buy branded school uniforms. She said that academies in particular were “emulating grammar schools and private schools” in prescribing prohibitively expensive uniforms – including branded blazers and…

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