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Daily News Summary
9 December 2020

Exams 2021: Scotland cancels next year's Higher exams
Coronavirus: Schools allowed to close a day early for Christmas
House of Commons debate: The impact of COVID-19 on music education
Dame Rachel de Souza set to become the next children's commissioner for England

Exams 2021: Scotland cancels next year's Higher exams


John Swinney, Scotland's education secretary, has confirmed next year's Higher and Advanced Higher exams will be cancelled, and pupils' grades are to be decided based on the judgement of their teachers. BBC News. Dorothy MacGinty, headmistress at Kilgraston School, appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning, discussing the announcement. She said that while she believed the move to cancel Higher exams was "probably the right decision", the Scottish Government should have acted "four months ago". Listen from 2:36:14.

Addressing MPs at an Education Select Committee hearing yesterday, schools minister Nick Gibb has said grade boundaries in 2021 should be similar to those this year, to ensure the 2021 cohort is "treated fairly". By Dave Speck, Tes.

Dame Glenys Stacey, Ofsted's acting chief regulator, has said it would be "unconscionable" to return to grading patterns used prior to last summer. By Camilla Turner, The Telegraph. Dame Glenys has also suggested that teachers could be asked to evaluate the extent of students' lost learning per subject, to help level the playing field for those most affected by the pandemic. By John Dickens, Schools Week.

An article in Schools Week summarises some of the key takeaways from the Education Select Committee hearing. By Samantha Booth.

According to Tes, the Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that all international schools sitting an Ofqual-regulated exam board's papers will receive the same exam amendments that were announced last week. By Dan Worth. The article quotes Colin Bell, chief executive of the Council of British International Schools.


Coronavirus: Schools allowed to close a day early for Christmas


Schools minister Nick Gibb has said schools in England will be able to schedule an inset day on Friday 18 December, so that staff can have 'a proper break without having to engage with track and trace issues'. BBC News.

Schools Week reports schools will be asked to remain contactable for the first six days of the Christmas holidays, to help with contact tracing where necessary. By Freddie Whittaker.

New figures from the DfE show pupil attendance has improved for the second week in a row, but up to 650,000 pupils remain absent across England for COVID-19 related reasons. By James Carr, Schools Week.

According to a survey by the National Union of Students, more than 50 per cent of university students say their mental health has declined since the start of the pandemic. By Dan Johnson and Claire Kendall, BBC News.


House of Commons debate: The impact of COVID-19 on music education


In a debate in the House of Commons yesterday, Andrew Lewer MBE, Conservative MP for Northampton South and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Independent Education, argued music education needs recognition from the Government "perhaps more so now than ever before". He also referenced the number of music partnerships taking place between state and independent schools, arguing these "are increasingly important given the current circumstances".


Dame Rachel de Souza set to become the next children's commissioner for England


Dame Rachel de Souza, the founding chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, is expected to take over from Anne Longfield as the children's commissioner for England in February. By Sally Weale, The Guardian.

The Guardian


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