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Daily News Summary
11 June 2020

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson pledges "massive catch-up operation" for pupils
Black Lives Matter: Calls to review national curriculum
More university students believe their courses are 'poor value for money'

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson pledges "massive catch-up operation" for pupils


Prime minister Boris Johnson has said the Government will share more details next week about its plans for a summer catch-up programme. By John Dickens, Schools Week.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU, has called for the "requisitioning of local public spaces" to allow for socially-distanced learning once schools reopen to more pupils. By Amy Gibbons, Tes. According to The Telegraph, Mr Johnson also intends to drop the two metre social distancing rule by September to enable schools to fully reopen for the start of the academic year. By Gordon Rayner and Christopher Hope.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has written in The Telegraph criticising the Government's approach to reopening schools, calling for a "national plan to reopen our classrooms safely". Former education secretary Damian Hinds has said "creative thinking" and a "can-do attitude" are key to reopening schools to more pupils. By Nicola Woolcock and Rosemary Bennett, The Times. Tom Hunt, a Conservative MP and member of the House of Commons education select committee, writes in The Telegraph that the Government "must ensure the education and protection of our children is not the area which falls behind" as lockdown restrictions ease. Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, has expressed her disappointment that schools will not be fully reopening before the summer break, adding she believes some people are "perhaps more frightened than they actually need to be". By Sally Weale, Rowena Mason and Alexandra Topping, The Guardian. Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former head of Ofsted, has described the Government's education policy during the pandemic as "an absolute tragedy" for youngsters in need of support. By Rosemary Bennett, The Times. Sir Wilshaw has also suggested teaching staff should "come in over the summer holidays and take classes for those youngsters who need it". By Hayley Dixon, The Telegraph. A separate article in The Telegraph reports several business groups have warned the prolonged closure of schools will prevent parents from returning to work and slow down the country's economic recovery. By Rachel Millard and Marianna Hunt.

Former first minister Lord McConnell has called for an "action plan" to help children who have fallen behind during school closures to catch up on their education. By Katrine Bussey, The Times. The Welsh Government has published new guidance on safety measures for schools in Wales as they prepare to reopen from 29 June. BBC News.

Martin Stephen, a former high master and a governor of two maintained schools, writes in The Telegraph arguing collaboration between state and independent schools is needed to "improve the prospects of the COVID generation". An article in FundEd Magazine explores how independent and state schools are working in partnership to "share resources and cut costs but also to enrich their offer". By Jane Hughes. The article mentions several schools in membership of the ISC's constituent associations. The Telegraph explores the experiences of a state school headteacher and an independent school head. The article quotes Jane Lunnon, head of Wimbledon High School. The paper also features an article from an anonymous author, who explains how the pandemic has prompted them to consider sending their daughter to an independent school.

In a letter to The Times, Richard Cairns, headmaster of Brighton College, outlines how social distancing rules could be modified in secondary schools to allow for the return of more pupils. The letter can be found halfway down the page.

Tes reports on calls for this year's GCSE boundaries to be relaxed to ensure pupils are not unfairly disadvantaged. By Catherine Lough. Former Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has warned this year's GCSE and A-level grades could be compromised by "unreliable internal assessment systems" in some schools. By Will Hazell, iNews. The Scottish Council of Independent Schools has questioned why the Scottish Qualifications Authority did not reduce its charges after this year's exams were cancelled, and has called for "a clear statement on the 2021 diet". By Emma Seith, Tes. Sally Collier, the chief regulator of Ofqual has acknowledged schools and exam boards need to know the plans for next year's exam series "before the summer break ideally". By Freddie Whittaker, Schools Week.

Charities and sports leaders have come together to urge education secretary Gavin Williamson to prioritise the physical development and wellbeing of children, amid concerns a generation of young people could miss out on the benefits of sport due to coronavirus disruption. By Jeremy Wilson, The Telegraph.

Mary Curnock Cook, former chief executive of UCAS, writes in The Times questioning why some students are considering deferring their university place, arguing 2020 could be the "best year" to go to university.


Black Lives Matter: Calls to review national curriculum


More than 30 MPs have written a letter urging the Government to support a review of the national curriculum, led by black and ethnic minority (BAME) leaders and historians, to ensure it better reflects black history and Britain's colonial past. By Kate Proctor, The Guardian.

The NEU has also called on the Government to take measures to ensure future cohorts of new teachers are more diverse, and to equip trainee teachers with "anti-racist tools and strategies". By Catherine Lough, Tes.

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland's BAME population is "woefully underrepresented among our school teachers and in education generally". By Henry Hepburn, Tes.


More university students believe their courses are 'poor value for money'


According to a survey published by the Higher Education Policy Institute, 31 per cent of university students believe their courses are 'poor' or 'very poor' value, an increase from 29 per cent last year. By Sean Coughlan, BBC News.



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