Nine education unions have written a joint statement urging the Government to "step back" from plans to reopen schools from June 1 amid ongoing safety concerns. Education secretary Gavin Williamson has insisted gradually reopening schools in two weeks' time is the "right and responsible thing to do". By Richard Vaughan, iNews. Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, has said the Government will work with trade unions and teaching professionals "to ensure that they are comfortable and have sufficient guidance to return to the workplace". By Freddie Whittaker, Schools Week. Osama Rahman, chief scientific adviser to the Department for Education, has been criticised after he admitted he had not assessed how effectively school reopening plans can be implemented and said there was a "low degree of confidence" that children transmit coronavirus less than adults. By Amy Gibbons, Tes. Mr Rahman has since issued a letter stating he has "full confidence" in the Government's plans, "subject to the conditionality of the five tests, increasing a decreasing transmission rate". By John Dickens, Schools Week. A separate article in Schools Week outlines key takeaways from Gavin Williamson's address to MPs in the House of Commons. By Freddie Whittaker.
Professor Graham Medley, the Government's chief pandemic modeller, has suggested teachers are more likely to contract coronavirus from their colleagues than from schoolchildren. By Bill Gardner, The Telegraph. An article in Tes reports the Government has not said whether teachers will be penalised for refusing to return to work once schools reopen. By Amy Gibbons and Dave Speck. According to a survey of more than 14,000 school support staff, 96 per cent of respondents are concerned that reopening schools will put children and their families at risk. Tes.
Tes reports the Education Recovery Group, chaired by Scottish education secretary John Swinney, plans to draw upon hubs used to provide childcare for key workers and vulnerable pupils as it considers how to maintain physical distancing once schools reopen. By Emma Seith. Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, Scotland's largest teaching union, has expressed concern over the long-term impact of social distancing on children and has called for next year's exams to be cancelled. By Emma Seith, Tes.
Tristram Waters, a computer science student at Bryanston School, is supporting a US research programme working to develop an effective treatment for coronavirus and other viral diseases. IE Today. The article quotes Andrew Barnes, director of technology at the school.
Gavin Williamson has said retired teachers and university graduates could be brought in to run summer schools as part of a volunteer scheme designed to help children catch up on their education. By Camilla Turner, The Telegraph.
Yvonne Williams, head of English and drama in a school in the south of England, writes in Tes in support of a return to coursework next year, adding "it's time to re-professionalise teachers as assessors so that we can rebuild a collaborative, self-sustaining system".
According to a survey of parents and carers in the UK, 25 per cent of those who have a child with mental health issues say they are no longer able to access help due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak. By Denis Campbell, The Guardian.
Calvin Robinson, assistant principal in a state secondary school, writes in The Mail that he is "desperate" to return to work, arguing school closures are causing "irreparable damage" to pupils' lives. The Telegraph features an article from an anonymous secondary school teacher who argues the pandemic has 'magnified inequalities between pupils thousandfold'.
Journalists from The Telegraph's world team report on different countries that have started reopening their schools as they ease their lockdown measures. Shirley Jacobsen, head of International Primary School at Rygaards International School in Cophenhagen, Denmark, describes her school's experience of reopening. Tes.