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Daily News Summary
4 February 2021

Coronavirus: PM resists calls to reopen schools before 8 March
Exams 2021: Pearson to replace IGCSE exams with teacher assessed grades
UCAS findings: Growing numbers of students opt for STEM subjects over the arts

Coronavirus: PM resists calls to reopen schools before 8 March


The Times reports Boris Johnson has resisted calls to reopen schools early, arguing it is better to stick to a "prudent and cautious approach". By Francis Elliott.

Nadhim Zahawi, the vaccines minister, has said the Government intends to gradually reopen the economy once schools begin to return in March. By Aubrey Allegretti, Sky News.

Boris Johnson has announced Sir Kevan Collins, the former chief executive of the Education Endowment Foundation, will take on the role of "education recovery commissioner" to lead a taskforce overseeing the catch up operation in England's schools. By Sean Coughlan, BBC News.

A number of headteachers have written a joint letter to The Times urging the Government to vaccinate all teachers and school staff, adding: "Without neglecting anyone's safety, reopening schools from March 8 should be the priority under any circumstance." The letter can be found at the bottom of the page.

The Telegraph reports some teachers in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, have booked "unauthorised" slots for COVID-19 vaccinations, after acquiring access to a booking link sent to NHS employees. By Camilla Turner.

John Swinney, Scotland's education secretary, has said staff at special schools in Scotland who are "undertaking tasks that are essentially health and social care-style activity" will be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccinations. By Emma Seith, Tes.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she expects local authorities in Scotland "to make sure that the safety of vulnerable teachers is absolutely top of the agenda" when schools begin to reopen to more pupils. Tes.

The Scottish Government is reportedly considering a proposal to run a "large scale" tuition programme during the summer holidays. By Helen Puttick, The Times.

Lord Field of Birkenhead, a crossbench peer and former minister, writes in The Telegraph arguing "COVID bonds" could help generate funding to support young people affected by the pandemic.

Rod Grant, headmaster of Clifton Hall School in Edinburgh, has warned some children "are now frightened to go on a playdate because they think someone's going to die as a result of it". By Jessica Carpani, The Telegraph.

Sport minister Nigel Huddleston has said he has had "constructive conversations" with the Department for Education about introducing an explicit measurement of a school's approach to physical activity, as part of plans to get children active after lockdown. By Jeremy Wilson, The Telegraph.

Hannah Essex, co-executive director at the British Chambers of Commerce, writes in The Times calling on the Government to provide more support for working parents during lockdown.


Exams 2021: Pearson to replace IGCSE exams with teacher assessed grades


Pearson has announced it will cancel exams for its international GCSEs and A-level series this year, with pupils' performance to be assessed by their teachers. By Samantha Booth, Schools Week.

Schools Week

UCAS findings: Growing numbers of students opt for STEM subjects over the arts


The Times reports on new findings from UCAS, which show medicine, computing and engineering degrees have become increasingly popular, while English, history and modern languages have seen a decline in enrolments. By Nicola Woolcock and Anna Lombardi.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has warned Britain risks becoming "an entirely monolingual society" after Brexit, due to the declining numbers of students taking languages degrees. By Camilla Turner, The Telegraph.



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