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Daily News Summary
18 February 2021

Coronavirus: Government expected to tighten mask-wearing rules when schools reopen
Unions condemn teacher pay freeze
MSPs call for "substantial reform" to SQA and Education Scotland
Pupils in children's homes 'less likely to attend top-rated schools'

Coronavirus: Government expected to tighten mask-wearing rules when schools reopen


According to The Guardian, masks could become compulsory outside classroom bubbles in secondaries when pupils return to schools in England. By Sally Weale and Richard Adams.

The Telegraph reports parents of secondary school pupils will be asked to test their children twice a week under plans for a phased return to the classroom. By Camilla Turner, Laura Donnelly, Ben Riley-Smith and Lucy Fisher.

A report from the Education Policy Institute has warned that catch-up plans put forward by all four UK governments offer "only a fraction of the support that is needed to deal with the huge amount of lost learning time". By Will Hazell, iNews.

David Hughes, chief executive of the Association of Colleges, has suggested that catch-up funding "should be allocated on the basis of measures of deprivation to ensure that the resources are targeted effectively". By Julia Belgutay, Tes.

Tim Firth, headmaster at Wrekin College, writes in The Times praising the way pupils at the school have adapted during the pandemic, saying: "They are putting to bed once and for all the nonsense that young people today are the snowflake generation."

Lucy Hanham, deputy head academic at Thorngrove School, writes in Independent Schools Magazine arguing the switch to remote teaching will have a positive impact on the face-to-face delivery of lessons when schools reopen. A separate article explores how independent schools are supporting the national vaccination effort. The article quotes Jo Hart, head of music and textiles at The Royal School in Surrey, Jo Hayward, head of Plymouth College, and Neal Parker, head of King Edward VI School.

John Swinney, Scotland's education secretary, has said there is "every possibility" that secondary schools will have to use a blended learning model for a "considerable period of time" when pupils are allowed to return to classrooms. By Henry Hepburn, Tes.

Emma Reed writes in The Telegraph suggesting a switch to flexi-schooling could offer children a more rounded education post-pandemic.

The Times reports universities are under increasing pressure to offer tuition fee refunds, amid ongoing disruption to teaching. By Catherine Baksi.

Findings from UCAS suggest the pandemic has prompted students to opt for "safe" careers, as applications for nursing, medicine and engineering courses surge. By Emma Yeomans, The Times.


Unions condemn teacher pay freeze


In evidence presented to the School Teachers Review Body (STRB), the Department for Education (DfE) has predicted that only 6,400 teachers will be eligible for a pay rise of £250, as those earning over £24,000 will have their pay frozen this year. By Samantha Booth, Schools Week.

Four education unions have signed a joint statement calling on the STRB to defy the Government and formally recommend a pay increase for teachers in 2021. By Freddie Whittaker, Schools Week.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, writes in Tes in response to the DfE's decision, saying: "A slap in the face doesn't even begin to describe the way many experienced teachers and school leaders feel."

Julia Harnden, funding specialist at the Association of School and College Leaders, has warned that schools could struggle to meet extra COVID-19 costs and a £250 salary increase for teachers earning less than £24,000. By Claudia Civinini, Tes.


MSPs call for "substantial reform" to SQA and Education Scotland


Tes reports opposition parties have joined forces to vote in favour of reform to Scotland's national qualifications and inspection bodies. By Henry Hepburn.


Pupils in children's homes 'less likely to attend top-rated schools'


According to research from Ofsted, pupils who live in children's homes are less likely to attend 'good' or 'outstanding' schools, and are more likely to go to alternative provision and special schools. By James Carr, Schools Week.

Schools Week


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