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Daily News Summary
18 May 2020

Coronavirus: Ministers insist reopening schools from June is 'safe'
Government faces legal challenge over "relaxing" of SEND support
'Our attitude to risk has made children's worlds smaller'

Coronavirus: Ministers insist reopening schools from June is 'safe'


Speaking at the Government's daily press briefing on Saturday, education secretary Gavin Williamson warned children have "more to lose by staying away from school" as he outlined plans to reopen primary schools in England from June 1. By Rosemary Bennett and Caroline Wheeler, The Times. Former education secretary Michael Gove has insisted it is safe to start reopening schools from June, saying "it is extremely unlikely that any school is likely to be the source of a Covid outbreak". BBC News. Michael Tildesley, an associate professor at Warwick University who sits on a panel within the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, has said it is "reasonable" to start reopening schools in June, but if the number of cases starts to rise the Government should be prepared to close them again. By Izzy Lyons, The Telegraph. Lee Hudson, consultant paediatrician and chief of mental health at Great Ormond Street, writes in The Guardian in favour of a "structured return" to school to help children to recover from the physical and mental effects of the pandemic. Jenny Harries, the Government's deputy chief medical officer, has said schools will not be "swarming with cases" if they start reopening to more pupils from June 1. Schools Week. According to the first major study of transmission among children and teachers, the spread of coronavirus is "limited" in classrooms. By Hayley Dixon and Harry Yorke, The Telegraph.

The Independent reports teaching unions have been left with "more questions than answers" after meeting with government scientific advisers last week. Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT, has said: "Nothing in the meeting provided reassurance for the deeply worried and anxious school workforce." By Zoe Tidman. The Association of School and College Leaders has announced it will be advising headteachers to prepare to reopen from June 1. By Caroline Wheeler and Sian Griffiths, The Sunday Times. An article in The Times reports 22 academy chains have written a letter in support of the Government plans, warning a continued absence from school would be "calamitous" for disadvantaged pupils. By Nicola Woolcock. The Mirror reports some local councils have announced they will not be reopening their schools on June 1. By Lorraine King. The article quotes Christopher King, chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools. The British Medical Association has said unions are "absolutely right" to urge caution ahead of schools reopening, adding "we cannot risk a second spike". By Thomas Burrows, The Sun. The article quotes Mr King, chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools. Anne Longfield, the children's commissioner for England, has called on the Government and teaching unions to "stop squabbling" and reach an agreement on a "staggered, safe return" to school. By Chiara Giordano, The Independent.

The Sunday Times reports on the measures some primary schools are putting in place to ensure a safe return for their pupils. By Sian Griffiths. The article quotes Karen Nicholson, headteacher at Breaside Preparatory School, and Amy Wicks, deputy head at the school. The paper also reports on the reasons why the Scottish Government is considering an outdoor learning model to enable pupils to observe social distancing when they return to school. By Jean West.

Reigate Grammar School has announced it will fund 10 bursary places for children of NHS staff, while other independent schools across the UK are offering free beds for healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus. By Zoe Tidman, The Independent. The article quotes Shaun Fenton, headmaster at the school, and mentions several other schools in membership of the ISC's constituent associations.

A comment piece in The Telegraph calls on independent schools to start reopening to reassure their state counterparts that it is safe for them to do the same. By Daniel Hannan. An article in The Mail on Sunday explores the differences in online provision offered by state and independent schools, with figures suggesting approximately 700,000 state school pupils are not being set any work during the lockdown. By Julie Henry and Ian Gallagher. The article mentions Royal Hospital School in Suffolk. Garry Wiseman, head of maths at an independent school, writes to The Telegraph arguing children's education should not be compromised for the sake of "political point-scoring". The letter can be found at the top of the page.

According to a new report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies, children from wealthier families are spending an additional 75 minutes per day on education. The findings also suggest parents from poorer households are more reluctant to send their children back to school. By Harry Yorke, The Telegraph. Vicki Stewart, deputy director of the Department for Education's pupil premium and school food division, has warned the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their wealthier peers could widen by up to 75 per cent due to the coronavirus outbreak. By Freddie Whittaker and Samantha Booth, Schools Week.

The Telegraph reports some school kitchens could be forced to close if they do not meet social distancing requirements, meaning parents may have to send their children to school with packed lunches. By Ben Rumsby. The article quotes Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the ISC.


Government faces legal challenge over "relaxing" of SEND support


Schools Week reports the Government faces a legal challenge over its decision to temporarily "relax" councils' requirements to provide support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). By Samantha Booth.

Schools Week

'Our attitude to risk has made children's worlds smaller'


Ruth Marvel, the new chief executive of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, has warned children are no longer able to take risks or learn from their mistakes because their lives are becoming "incredibly curated". By Charles Hymas, The Telegraph.

The Telegraph


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