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Daily News Summary
14 January 2021

Exams 2021: Gavin Williamson suggests students could sit 'externally set papers'
Coronavirus: Education secretary confirms mass testing of primary school staff
Universities urged to widen access by lowering entry requirements

Exams 2021: Gavin Williamson suggests students could sit 'externally set papers'


Education secretary Gavin Williamson has asked Ofqual to explore the use of externally set papers for this year's GCSEs and A-levels, to help teachers evaluate pupils' performance. By Nicola Woolcock, The Times.

Dr Tina Isaacs, a member of Ofqual's Standards Advisory Group, has suggested external tests proposed by Mr Williamson could take the form of "short, sharp, limited papers", which could be marked by teachers in other schools. By Dave Speck, Tes.

The International Baccalaureate has been accused of failing to address the impact of COVID-19 disruption on education in a school survey on exams safety. By Catherine Lough, Tes. The article quotes Mark Sully, deputy headteacher at Warminster School, and Rod Jackson, head of International Community School, London.

Seamus Searson, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, has warned pupils could cheat on their coursework while at home, arguing teachers who submit evidence to the Scottish Qualifications Authority "can't guarantee that piece of work was completed by that particular child". By Mark McLaughlin, The Times.


Coronavirus: Education secretary confirms mass testing of primary school staff


Education secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed the mass testing of primary school staff will begin from 18 January, despite warnings that the strategy could lead to more coronavirus cases in schools. He added that parents of primary pupils will also be expected to administer COVID-19 tests for their children at home. By James Carr, Schools Week.

Addressing the Commons Education Select Committee, Mr Williamson said he is fighting "tooth and nail" to ensure teachers and school staff are prioritised in the next wave of COVID-19 vaccines. By John Roberts, Tes.

Boris Johnson has said it is "far, far too early" to know whether coronavirus restrictions can be relaxed in mid-February, suggesting schools in England may not reopen after half term. By Alan McGuinness, Sky News.

Up to 670 prep schools could open up their sports facilities for all children during the school holidays once lockdown restrictions ease, in support of The Telegraph's 'Keep Kids Active' campaign. By Tom Morgan, The Telegraph. The article quotes Christopher King, chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools.

According to data from the Department for Education, 20 per cent of primary pupils attended school on 11 January, a week after the national lockdown was announced. By Zoe Tidman, The Independent.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Sarah Porter, a nursery owner, warns the sector "is on a cliff edge", with staff concerned about the potential safety risks of remaining open. By Katie Russell.

A new report from the Scottish Government has detailed the impact of last year's school closures on the physical and mental health of Scottish children. By Daniel Sanderson, The Telegraph.

Footballer and child poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford has called for a "major review of the free school meal system", after the contents of some food parcels sent to children learning from home were widely criticised on social media. By Will Hazell, iNews.

According to Schools Week, the Government will relaunch its national free school meals voucher scheme next Monday, and schools will "have the freedom to decide" how they provide food to their pupils. By Freddie Whittaker.


Universities urged to widen access by lowering entry requirements


A new report from Durham University has encouraged universities to adopt a model "where prospective students' qualifications are judged in light of their socioeconomic circumstances". By Nicola Woolcock, The Times.

The Times


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