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ISC Daily News Summary

ISC Daily News Summary 15 January 2021

Exams 2021: Teachers could be expected to mark questions set by exam boards

Examinations

According to Tes, exam boards could be expected to provide teachers with preset questions and extra training to help them assess their pupils' GCSE and A-level grades. By Catherine Lough.

Coronavirus: Concerns raised over plan for mass COVID-19 testing in schools

General education

According to The Guardian, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has not authorised the daily use of 30-minute COVID-19 tests in schools, amid concerns over the reliability of the results. By Josh Halliday. A separate article in the paper explores the debate surrounding the merits of lateral flow testing in schools. By Ian Sample.

Some local directors of public health are advising schools not to follow the Government's plan to use rapid testing to keep contacts of COVID-19 cases in the classroom. By John Roberts, Tes.

Andrew Lewer, the Conservative MP for Northampton South, submitted a written question asking the secretary of state for education whether he will ensure children in independent schools have access to mass COVID-19 testing once it is rolled out to secondary pupils. In response, Nick Gibb said that while independent schools have started receiving testing kits and personal protective equipment, "the Department is not able to extend funding to independent schools and colleges with fee-paying individuals". Hansard.

Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, submitted a written question asking the secretary of state for education whether independent schools are eligible to receive laptops from the Government for home learning. In response, Nick Gibb stated: "Support through this programme does not cover schools that are not state funded." Hansard.

An article in Tes reports some laptops provided by the Government have arrived with no sound driver installed, leaving pupils struggling to access online lessons. By Amy Gibbons.

Georgina Fuller writes in The Telegraph arguing the pandemic has highlighted a difference in the online learning provision offered by state schools compared to independent schools.

The Government has been accused of showing "total disregard" for those worst affected by the pandemic, after telling schools they do not need to provide free meals or vouchers to vulnerable pupils over half term. By Jon Stone and Clea Skopeliti, The Independent.

A group of celebrity chefs and campaigners have joined footballer Marcus Rashford in writing a letter to the prime minister calling for an "urgent comprehensive review into free school meal policy across the UK". By Jennifer Scott, BBC News.

Tes reports some headteachers and school business managers are already experiencing difficulties in accessing the online ordering service for free school meals. By Dave Speck.

An anonymous A-level teacher writes in The Telegraph about the challenges of balancing work and childcare responsibilities during the pandemic.

Rose Hardy, headmistress at Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls, writes in Independent Schools Magazine discussing how teachers are thinking of new ways to interact with one another during the pandemic. In a separate article, Devin Cassidy, headmaster of Bury Grammar School Boys, reflects on the impact the pandemic has had on the education system in the last year.

A report from Sport England has highlighted the impact of the pandemic on children's activity levels, with almost a third of children not averaging the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise. By Jeremy Wilson, The Telegraph.

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