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Daily News Summary
15 May 2020

Coronavirus: Education unions seek assurances over school reopenings
"Remote learning boosts emotional intelligence"
Friday Feature: How schools are coming together to support their wider communities

Coronavirus: Education unions seek assurances over school reopenings


Teaching unions are due to meet with the Government's scientific advisers later today to seek assurances that plans to reopen schools in England from June are safe. By Sean Coughlan, BBC News. Layla Moran, education spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, has written a letter to the Government's scientific and medical advisers urging them to publish the advice behind the decision to reopen England's schools. By Hannah Richardson, BBC News. The National Association of Head Teachers has warned it has "very significant concerns" about the Government's plans, adding they are "likely to prove impractical and unworkable in most schools". By Zoe Tidman, The Independent. The NASUWT has written to local authorities warning it could invoke legal action if teachers are not given the same protections as other frontline staff when schools return. By Richard Adams and Sally Weale, The Guardian. With the support of the NEU and the NASUWT, the Local Government Association has called on the Government to allow some schools to make their own decisions on when it is safe to reopen, in consultation with their councils. By Amy Gibbons, Tes.

According to a study of 10,000 people in England, children are as likely as adults to contract coronavirus. By Kat Lay, The Times.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson writes in The Mail arguing: "All of us in education have a duty to work together to get children back to school." David Blunkett, a former education secretary, has criticised the teaching unions' opposition to school reopening plans, claiming they are "working against the interests of children". By Catherine Lough, Tes. Dame Rachel de Souza, a former headteacher, chief executive of the Inspiration Trust group of schools and a director of the Parents and Teachers for Excellence campaign group, calls for schools to reopen "as rapidly as possible after half term" to minimise the impact of the pandemic on children and young people. The Telegraph.

The Mail reports independent schools have been working "around the clock" to plan pupils' return to school while continuing to provide online learning. By Jason Groves and Josh White. The article mentions Eton College and The Perse School, and quotes Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the ISC, and Neil Roskilly, chief executive of the Independent Schools Association.

The Independent Schools Magazine features a number of articles from staff members at schools in membership of the ISC, who describe how they have adapted to their new working environments since lockdown began. Jeremy Thomas, science partnership coordinator at Abingdon School, describes how the Abingdon Science Partnership is working with its partner schools remotely to provide a "meaningful science education" to children at home.

According to guidance published by the Department for Education yesterday, schools should consider bringing in teachers from other schools or "experienced" teaching assistants if they do not have enough staff to teach pupils returning to school from June. By Freddie Whittaker, Schools Week. The DfE has also admitted reopening primary schools to more pupils could make it "more difficult" for teachers to provide the same quality of education remotely to those pupils not yet eligible to attend. By John Dickens, Schools Week. An article in Tes summarises some of the key takeaways from the DfE guidance. By Amy Gibbons.

Tes reports exam boards and Ofqual are discussing proposals to hold shortened exams with reduced subject content later this year. By Catherine Lough.

MPs on the Commons Education Committee have written to the DfE expressing concerns over "delays and issues" with its national free school meals voucher scheme. By Dave Speck, Tes. According to The Guardian, more than a thousand councillors across England have written to Gavin Williamson calling on the Government to extend its voucher scheme during the half term and summer breaks. By Sally Weale.


"Remote learning boosts emotional intelligence"


Roger Sinnett, headmaster of St Bees School in Cumbria, describes the positive impact remote learning has had on his pupils' character development. Tes.


Friday Feature: How schools are coming together to support their wider communities


The latest instalment of the ISC's 'good news' round-up shines a light on the inspiring work schools are doing to support their communities during the lockdown.



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.

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