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Daily News Summary
27 January 2021

Coronavirus: PM confirms "it will not be possible" to reopen schools after half term
Exams 2021: PM promises "fair" exams for all
'There is an epidemic of self-harm across state and independent schools'
Free project helps disadvantaged black pupils secure Oxbridge offers

Coronavirus: PM confirms "it will not be possible" to reopen schools after half term


Prime minister Boris Johnson has said schools in England will not be able to reopen after the February half term, but he hopes they can return from 8 March. BBC News.

The Department for Education has confirmed schools will "close as usual" over the February half term, though staff will remain on call for contact tracing purposes. Schools Week.

Alistair Graham, headmaster of Hall Grove School, writes to The Telegraph saying the Government should aim to reopen schools by 1 March, arguing: "There can be no excuse for keeping children out of school any longer." The letter can be found a quarter of the way down the page.

Jane Prescott, headmistress of Portsmouth High School GDST and president of the Girls' Schools Association, spoke with Nick Ferrari on LBC yesterday morning, where she suggested lateral flow testing and the vaccination of school staff could give parents, children and teachers the confidence to return to school. Listen from 01:39:50.

Anne Longfield, the children's commissioner for England, has warned there is a "real danger" that schools could remain closed until the summer due to the Government's "lack of planning". By Camilla Turner, The Telegraph.

Katharine Birbalsingh, headmistress of Michaela Community School, has said the Government should consider asking children in England to repeat this academic year from September, arguing online learning cannot be substituted for classroom teaching. By Christopher Hope and Louisa Wells, The Telegraph.

John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, has said there is "no movement" within the sector towards asking children in Scotland to repeat a year of school due to COVID-19 disruption. By Conor Matchett, The Scotsman.

Tes reports the number of British independent schools opening in China trebled in 2020, despite the pandemic. By Dave Speck. The article quotes Steve Allen, headteacher of Lady Eleanor Holles International School in Foshan, China.

Sir Simon Stephens, chief executive of NHS England, has said teachers, police and people with learning disabilities should be considered for the next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations. Tes.

Drawing upon their own research findings, Jonathan Townsend, CEO of The Prince's Trust, and David Laws, executive chairman of the Education Policy Institute (EPI), write in The Telegraph arguing "the Government needs a plan for mental health catch up as surely as it needs a plan for academic catch up". Schools Week summarises key policy recommendations from the EPI's study into the impact of the pandemic on young people's mental wellbeing. By Samantha Booth.

Dr Javed Khan, CEO of Barnardo's, has warned that three quarters of disadvantaged white pupils feel "left behind at school with no way of catching up". By Lizzie Roberts, The Telegraph.

MPs have been told children from disadvantaged backgrounds are struggling to develop language skills during lockdown. By Catherine Lough, Tes.

Schools Week reports it may take up to six weeks for the Government to deliver all of the laptops it has pledged for disadvantaged pupils learning from home. By James Carr.


Exams 2021: PM promises "fair" exams for all


Speaking at yesterday's Downing Street briefing, Boris Johnson said this year's alternative arrangements for exams will be "fair" and "properly adjusted" to reflect the learning loss caused by the coronavirus disruption. By Amy Gibbons, Tes.

Professor Lindsay Paterson, professor of education policy at the University of Edinburgh, has warned of an "emerging crisis" over the awarding of grades in Scotland, saying "teachers are in the dark about what criteria to use and what kinds of assessments to use". By Daniel Sanderson, The Telegraph.


'There is an epidemic of self-harm across state and independent schools'


Stephen Fry, comedian and president of Mind, has said "there doesn't seem to be a difference in the prevalence of self-harm" in state and independent schools, adding some pupils' mental health issues can sometimes be dismissed due to their "privileged" background. By Jamie Johnson, The Telegraph.

The Telegraph

Free project helps disadvantaged black pupils secure Oxbridge offers


The Times reports on a free initiative which has helped 70 disadvantaged black pupils to secure offers from Oxford and Cambridge. By Nicola Woolcock.

The Times


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