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Daily News Summary
1 April 2021

Immediate review and helpline launched following reports of sexual abuse in schools
Coronavirus: Union leader calls for "sustainable approach" to catch-up learning
Critics respond to Sewell report findings
The Daily News Summary will return after Easter

Immediate review and helpline launched following reports of sexual abuse in schools


The Government has launched an immediate review into allegations of sexual abuse and harassment in schools, along with a helpline run by the NSPCC to support potential victims and provide advice to children and adults. The Government said Ofsted will work with representatives from social care, police, victim support groups, school and college leaders and the Independent Schools Council (ISC) in its review. By Nicola Woolcock and Ben Ellery, The Times. Read the ISC's statement here.

The Independent reports on some of the steps schools are taking to educate children about sexual harassment. By Zoe Tidman. The article quotes Gareth Doodes, headmaster at The King's School in Worcester, Julie Keller, head of Nottingham Girls' High School, and Jane Prescott, president of the Girls' Schools Association and headmistress of Portsmouth High School.

Dame Rachel de Souza, the children's commissioner for England, has said Ofsted's "light-touch" inspections should focus on school safeguarding, adding there are "questions to be asked" about whether Ofsted should have a role in inspecting safeguarding standards at independent schools. By Amy Gibbons, Tes.

Joanna Moorhead writes in The Telegraph arguing that while schools have a role in tackling sexual harassment and abuse, "we all have a responsibility to own in the over-sexualised, misogynistic culture around us."

Melanie Sanderson, editor of the Good Schools Guide, has said independent schools should take responsibility for boys' behaviour outside of the classroom, in line with their pledges to help develop pupils into well-rounded individuals. By Nicola Woolcock, The Times.

According to a poll from Plan International UK, 58 per cent of girls aged between 14 and 21 have experienced sexual harassment in their educational institution. By Maya Oppenheim, The Independent.


Coronavirus: Union leader calls for "sustainable approach" to catch-up learning


Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT, has warned "burned out" teachers could leave the profession if schools place too much pressure on them to deliver catch-up learning. By Dave Speck, Tes.

A report from UCL's Institute for Education has described teaching assistants as the "unsung heroes" of the pandemic, as findings suggest 88 per cent of them supported vulnerable and key worker children in school during lockdown. By Sally Weale, The Guardian.

Tes reports on survey findings from Unison, which suggest 85.7 per cent of support staff felt either "very anxious" or "somewhat anxious" during lockdown. By Kate Parker.

According to Professor Jon Deeks, head of the biostatistics, evidence synthesis and test evaluation research group at the University of Birmingham, mass COVID-19 testing in schools is costing up to £120,000 to identify just one positive case. By Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph.

A new study has concluded that the Pfizer vaccine is "100 per cent effective and well tolerated" amount children aged 12 to 15. The Telegraph.

Tes explores what schools can do to help tackle childhood obesity, which is reported to have worsened during lockdown. By Dan Worth.

The Telegraph reports some outdoor learning providers may be forced to close as a result of the pandemic. By Georgina Fuller.

According to a report from the Higher Education Policy Institute, 63 per cent of university students in the UK say their mental health has declined as a result of the pandemic. BBC News.


Critics respond to Sewell report findings


A major review into racial inequality, led by Tony Sewell, an educationalist and chairman of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, has concluded that Britain is no longer a country where the system is "deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities". By Eleni Courea, Simon Murphy and Matt Dathan, The Times.

Mercy Muroki, a member of the Commission, writes in The Times stating: "What we found was that geography, family influence, socio-economic background, culture, and religion have a more significant impact on life chances than racism itself."

A number of education union leaders have criticised the Commission's findings, warning the report "will be seen by many as an insult". By Catherine Lough, Tes.

Kalwant Bhopal, director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education at the University of Birmingham, writes in The Guardian arguing the report "ignores and trivialises the very real role that racism plays in shaping the life chances of Black and ethnic minority children in the UK".


The Daily News Summary will return after Easter


The Daily News Summary will be taking a short break over Easter, and normal service will resume on Wednesday 7 April 2021. On behalf of all at the ISC, Happy Easter!



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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