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Daily News Summary
13 January 2021

Coronavirus: Children of key workers 'miss out' on classroom places as schools struggle to meet demand
Exams 2021: Gavin Williamson outlines expectations for alternative arrangements to exams
Top universities prepare to increase their intakes amid widespread disruption to education

Coronavirus: Children of key workers 'miss out' on classroom places as schools struggle to meet demand


iNews reports some key worker parents and NHS staff are missing out on classroom places for their children, as schools attempt to manage an increase in attendance. By Charlie Duffield.

Parents of children with special educational needs have called on the Government to prioritise teachers in special schools for the vaccine. By Drew Miller Hyndman, BBC News. Speaking to The Guardian, three staff members at special schools share their safety concerns. By Rachel Obordo and Alex Mistlin.

According to Tes, some academics have questioned plans for lateral flow testing in schools, warning the strategy "may increase rather than decrease COVID cases in schools".

The latest attendance data from the Department for Education shows the number of pupils missing school due to COVID-related closures rose from 53,000 on 10 December to 137,000 on 16 December. By James Carr, Schools Week.

The NASUWT has warned that changes to the furlough scheme could mean some supply teachers face a sudden loss of earnings amid partial school closures. By Dave Speck, Tes.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has said an extra 300,000 laptops and tablets have been bought to support disadvantaged pupils in England with their online learning. BBC News.

Tim Smith, headmaster of Hampton Pre-Prep and Prep School in London, Andy Falconer, head of St Peter's 8-13 in York, and Julie Robinson, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, discuss the return to home schooling on Attain's Fresh Thinking podcast.

According to The Times, it could take weeks to resolve technical issues affecting Scotland's online learning system. By Marc Horne.

A spokesman for Ofsted has confirmed "all planned inspection activity will be undertaken remotely until after the February half term", after inspectors voted against plans for in-person school visits. By Camilla Turner, The Telegraph.

The prime minister's official spokesman has described the content of some food parcels sent to children learning from home as "completely unacceptable". By Will Hazell and Josh Barrie, iNews. An article in The Independent reports the Government has been urged to offer vulnerable families "dignity and respect" by providing them with financial support instead of food parcels or vouchers. By Vincent Wood.

The Telegraph reports Sport England is ready to roll out a national programme to open school sport facilities outside of teaching hours, once COVID-19 restrictions ease. By Jeremy Wilson.


Exams 2021: Gavin Williamson outlines expectations for alternative arrangements to exams


Schools Week reports education secretary Gavin Williamson has written a letter to Simon Lebus, Ofqual's chief regulator, outlining the Government's plan for alternative arrangements for 2021 exams. By John Dickens.

Magnus Bashaarat - head of Bedales School, a former A-level examiner, and a member of the Rethinking Assessment group - considers how teachers could be asked to evaluate their students' performance in place of exams this year. The Telegraph.

iNews reports some BTEC students feel "pushed to the side" following last minute changes to the qualification. By Jasmine Andersson.

Seamus Searson, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, is calling on the Scottish Government to devise a plan B for 2021 assessments, warning teachers face "serious problems" gathering evidence to support their grade estimates while pupils are at home. By Emma Seith, Tes.


Top universities prepare to increase their intakes amid widespread disruption to education


According to iNews, Russell Group universities have said they will be 'as fair and flexible as possible to ensure students are not disadvantaged in their applications' this year. By Will Hazell.

Cambridge University has pledged to admit 50 students from underprivileged backgrounds whose "circumstances have prevented them from realising their academic potential". By Camilla Turner, The Telegraph.

The actor Riz Ahmed, who studied at Oxford University after securing a scholarship to an independent school, has encouraged students from black and ethnic minority backgrounds to "be comfortable with the discomfort" of attending Oxbridge. By Matthew Moore, The Times.



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