isc logo  

Daily News Summary
8 January 2021

Exams 2021: Government faces criticism over delay to alternative exam arrangements
House of Lords debate: Exam arrangements and vaccinations for school staff
Coronavirus: Increasing demand for school places amid confusion over eligibility criteria

Exams 2021: Government faces criticism over delay to alternative exam arrangements


Schools Week reports union leaders have accused the Government of a "dereliction of duty", after it emerged that schools could have to wait up to two months to find out how GCSEs and A-levels will be assessed this year. By Samantha Booth.

BBC News reports IGCSE exams can go ahead this summer, despite the cancellation of GCSEs and A-levels. By Sean Coughlan. The article quotes Dr Simon Hyde, general secretary of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

Dr Hyde has criticised the Government for "passing the buck" to schools over alternative arrangements for GCSEs and A-levels this year. By Catherine Lough, Tes.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has suggested students could be asked to sit classroom tests during the summer term to help teachers evaluate their performance. By Will Hazell, iNews.


House of Lords debate: Exam arrangements and vaccinations for school staff


Speaking in a House of Lords debate yesterday, Lord Lexden, president of the Independent Schools Association, asked the Government if it would "give the highest priority to the vaccination of all those who work with such dedication in our country's schools". He also asked if ministers would consult with the Independent Schools Council in settling arrangements for this summer's exams and assessments. In response, Baroness Berridge said consideration of the vaccine priority list was "very much on the Department's mind", and stated she is sure the ISC "will be involved in responding to the consultation on exams". Hansard.


Coronavirus: Increasing demand for school places amid confusion over eligibility criteria


The Times reports confusion over government guidance on key worker status has led to a 'postcode lottery' for school places. By Nicola Woolcock.

Education unions have urged the Government to review the guidance on key workers, amid concerns that too many children are being sent home during lockdown. By Harry Yorke and Camilla Turner, The Telegraph.

The Independent reports on updated guidance published by the Department for Education (DfE) yesterday, which states schools should not limit the number of key workers' children on-site during lockdown. By Zoe Tidman.

An article in Schools Week summarises the key takeaways from the DfE's guidance on partial school closures. By Freddie Whittaker.

Robert Halfon, chair of the Education Select Committee, has said teachers and support staff should be prioritised alongside healthcare workers for the COVID-19 vaccine. By Chloe Chaplain, iNews.

IE Today reports a number of independent schools have offered their resources to support the national vaccination effort. By Jo Golding. The article quotes several heads of schools in membership of the ISC's constituent associations.

According to The Telegraph, Ofsted is reported to have been blindsided by the education secretary's update to MPs, which stated the inspectorate would "enforce" mandatory requirements for high quality remote education. By Harry Yorke.

Schools Week reports the "big four" telecoms companies have so far refused to commit to zero-rating education websites, which would enable pupils to access online learning resources without using up their data allowances. By Freddie Whittaker.

The Early Years Alliance, the National Day Nurseries Association and childminders' group, Pacey, have united to call on the Government to provide scientific evidence to support claims that it is safe to keep nurseries open. By Hannah Richardson, BBC News.

New survey findings suggest 15 per cent of mothers will have to take unpaid leave due to school closures, compared to 8 per cent of fathers. By Alexandra Topping and Niamh McIntyre, The Guardian.

Schools that have closed due to the pandemic could be used to house families displaced by flooding. By Jack Hardy, The Telegraph.



The Independent Schools Council (ISC) monitors the national and educational press in order to keep independent schools up-to-date with relevant education news. The DNS is a service primarily for schools in membership of ISC associations, although other interested parties can choose to sign-up. We endeavour to include relevant news and commentary and, wherever possible, notable public letters. Where capacity allows, we may include links to ISC blogs, press statements and information about school or association events. News stories are selected based on their relevance to the independent sector as a whole. Editorial control of the DNS remains solely with the ISC.

Sign-up to the email service is available on our website.

Members can contact the ISC if they know in advance of news, letters or opinions that are likely to feature in the media, or are aware of existing coverage which they would like to see featured in the DNS.

Headlines and first-line summaries are written by the ISC with the link directing to the source material. You should read and comply with the terms and conditions of the websites to which we link.