isc logo  

Daily News Summary
1 June 2020

Coronavirus: Primary schools reopen to more pupils
Scottish and Welsh universities criticise plans to cap student numbers
Natural history GCSE approved for consultation
Local authorities to introduce temporary bans on vehicles outside schools

Coronavirus: Primary schools reopen to more pupils


Children in reception, Year 1 and Year 6 have started to return to England's primary schools today, amid ongoing debate surrounding the safety of school reopenings. ITV News. Education secretary Gavin Williamson has written in The Telegraph defending the decision to reopen primary schools, arguing "we need to move forward with our plan so that children don't keep missing out". According to a study based on 1,200 school leaders, 46 per cent of parents are expected to keep their children at home, and more than a quarter of available teachers plan to work from home only. By Jane Dalton, The Independent.

The NASUWT has written to schools warning they could face legal action if they reopen to more pupils "without adequate risk assessment planning". By Dave Speck, Tes.

Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governance Association, has written to Gavin Williamson asking him to reconsider plans to bring all primary school children back to school before the summer holidays, arguing the decision "is adding to uncertainty for parents, but also extra pressure on school leaders and governing boards". By Branwen Jeffreys and Judith Burns, BBC News.

The Telegraph reports pupils have been told to leave hats, ties and other infrequently washed items at home when they return to school as part of new hygiene measures. By Camilla Turner. The article quotes Neil Roskilly, chief executive of the Independent Schools Association, and Christopher King, chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools. iNews reports schools are introducing one-way systems for corridors, social bubbles and hand washing stations as part of efforts to keep staff and students safe. By Charlie Duffield. The Liberal Democrats have written to Gavin Williamson and local government secretary Robert Jenrick urging them to support the creation of local "spare space registers" to prevent schools from becoming overcrowded as pupils return. By Will Hazell, iNews.

According to a survey of more than 5,000 school staff, 70 per cent of respondents said they believe their school is unprepared for socially distancing pupils. By Will Hazell, iNews.

The Mail on Sunday reports on poll findings which suggest just 19 per cent of pupils at local authority schools have spent at least 20 hours a week on schoolwork during lockdown, compared to 63 per cent of pupils at independent schools. By Nick Craven and Julie Henry. The Times reports on EtonX, Eton College's online portal, where pupils across the country can access free learning resources. By Michael Odell. The article quotes Tom Arbuthnott, director of outreach and partnership at the school.

Julie Robinson, chief executive of the ISC, has written to parents updating them on the ways independent schools have been supporting their pupils and wider communities during the pandemic. The letter also reassures parents that "teachers and support staff have been working on detailed preparations for wider reopening according to government advice". Independent School Parent.

According to modelling for the exams regulator Ofqual, 78 per cent of A-level grades awarded in previous years accurately matched the results predicted by teachers, amid concerns over this year's emergency marking system. By Sian Griffiths, The Sunday Times.

NHS England has issued guidance for parents advising them on how they can support their children's mental health, amid concerns children could be experiencing anxiety and distress as schools reopen. By Ben Webster, The Times. Kate Silverton, a trainee child psychotherapist, writes in The Telegraph offering advice to parents on how they can support their children emotionally as they return to school. A separate article in The Telegraph explores how parents can help their teenagers if they are struggling with depression during lockdown. By Leah Hardy. Jo Steer, a wellbeing consultant for schools, writes in Tes outlining how leaders can support the wellbeing of their staff as schools reopen.

The Guardian reports some parents have expressed support for a nationwide virtual school in Scotland, as many struggle to balance their work with home schooling their children. By Libby Brooks.

BBC News reports the Welsh Government has mooted proposals to bring forward the six-week summer holiday as it considers how to reopen schools in Wales safely. By Paul Martin.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said schools in Ireland are expected to reopen in August as planned. By Ben Haugh and Brian Mahon, The Times.

Anne Longfield, children's commissioner for England, writes in The Telegraph calling for "a national effort to provide a summer programme of education, sport, art, volunteering and support" for children most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Times reports the travel firm PGL has refused to provide full refunds for cancelled school trips, claiming schools can claim the money back through their insurers. By David Byers.

According to new poll findings, more than 1.5 million people are now considering pursuing a career in teaching post-lockdown. By Will Hazell, iNews.


Scottish and Welsh universities criticise plans to cap student numbers


The Guardian reports universities and ministers in Scotland and Wales have expressed concern over the Department for Education's plans to introduce a cap on the number of students each university can recruit this autumn. By Richard Adams and Libby Brooks.

The Guardian

Natural history GCSE approved for consultation


Mary Colwell, a BBC producer and writer, has confirmed a proposed natural history qualification has been approved for consultation, meaning it could be a part of the GCSE curriculum by 2022. By Helena Horton, The Telegraph.

The Telegraph

Local authorities to introduce temporary bans on vehicles outside schools


The Times reports several local authorities plan to introduce temporary traffic bans during school drop-off and pick-up times to help protect children from toxic air pollution. By Ben Webster.

The Times


The Independent Schools Council (ISC) monitors the national and educational press in order to keep independent schools up-to-date with relevant education news. The DNS is a service primarily for schools in membership of ISC associations, although other interested parties can choose to sign-up. We endeavour to include relevant news and commentary and, wherever possible, notable public letters. Where capacity allows, we may include links to ISC blogs, press statements and information about school or association events. News stories are selected based on their relevance to the independent sector as a whole. Editorial control of the DNS remains solely with the ISC.

Sign-up to the email service is available on our website.

Members can contact the ISC if they know in advance of news, letters or opinions that are likely to feature in the media, or are aware of existing coverage which they would like to see featured in the DNS.

Headlines and first-line summaries are written by the ISC with the link directing to the source material. You should read and comply with the terms and conditions of the websites to which we link.