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Daily News Summary
5 July 2021

Coronavirus: Government officials draw up five-point rescue plan amid calls for school bubbles to be scrapped
Exams 2021: Concerns over impact of exam cancellations on pupils' job prospects
Mobile phones could be banned from schools 'as soon as January'
'The decolonisation of education is an urgent issue'
Independent school explores the role of plants in boosting pupil wellbeing

Coronavirus: Government officials draw up five-point rescue plan amid calls for school bubbles to be scrapped


According to The Telegraph, government officials are drawing up a five-point rescue package to ease the impact of the pandemic on children. By Ben Riley-Smith.

Amanda Milling, co-chair of the Conservative Party, has said the rules around school bubbles should be lifted "as soon as possible" to stop children from "unnecessarily missing out on days in school". By Christopher Hope, Theodora Louloudis and Louisa Wells, The Telegraph.

Professor Adam Finn, a paediatrics expert and member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, has warned that school bubbles and the requirement to self-isolate are having a "paralysing" effect on society. By Henry Bodkin, The Telegraph.

Gerard Jones, the director of children and young people at Oldham Council, has said that schools are "bleeding out" due to COVID isolation rules. By Josh Halliday, The Guardian.

According to The Sunday Times, some independent schools have had to close early and send pupils home until September following coronavirus outbreaks. By Sian Griffiths. The article quotes Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council.

The Sunday Times reports several independent schools in Scotland are experiencing a surge in interest from parents seeking to protect their children's education in the wake of COVID disruption. By John Boothman. The article quotes John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, Lisa Kerr, principal of Gordonstoun, and mentions several other schools in membership of the ISC's constituent associations.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), has said that face coverings in secondary schools should "absolutely" be reconsidered at the beginning of the next academic year if COVID infections remain high. By Harry Yorke, The Telegraph.

Peter Wanless, head of the NSPCC, has warned that trauma caused by COVID could stay with young people "for a lifetime" if left unaddressed. By Camilla Turner, The Telegraph.

Robert Dingwall, professor of sociology at Nottingham Trent University and a member of government advisory groups, writes in The Telegraph calling for an end to "draconian" COVID measures in schools.

Writing in The Telegraph, Iain Duncan Smith urges the Government to "rethink its panicked policy on schools", adding: "Enforced and unnecessary absence is failing our children."

According to research from FFT Education Datalab, school absence rates in England this year are almost double the pre-pandemic rate, with GCSE pupils missing the most time. By Will Hazell, iNews.

New guidance published by the Department for Education states that schools may need to modify their curriculum "substantially" to help pupils catch up on their learning. By Samantha Booth, Schools Week.

Russell Viner, a paediatrician and professor at the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, writes in The Observer arguing it is "reasonable" to vaccinate vulnerable under-18s against COVID, adding: "Then, we should vaccinate healthy teenagers once we have adequate safety data - but for this we must wait."

According to The Telegraph, TikTok has removed a number of viral videos teaching children how to fake positive lateral flow tests. By Dominic Penna.

Sally Holland, the children's commissioner for Wales, has called for face mask rules in secondary schools to be scrapped with "immediate effect". BBC News.


Exams 2021: Concerns over impact of exam cancellations on pupils' job prospects


According to The Telegraph, experts have warned that pupils affected by exam cancellations could be looked down on by employers. By Camilla Turner. The article quotes Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the ISC.

Matthew Burke, headmaster of St Edward's Senior & Sixth Form, writes to The Telegraph arguing teachers and schools have been "resourceful and resilient" during the exams disruption, adding that GCSE and A-level students "who have shown true perseverance in challenging times" should be celebrated for their success. The letter can be found towards the end of the page.

In an interview with The Times, Shirley-Anne Somerville, Scotland's education secretary, has said she would like to see commentary about the role of continuous assessments and exams in the education system, adding that the discussion about having exams or no exams is "a false choice". By Mark McLaughlin.


Mobile phones could be banned from schools 'as soon as January'


According to iNews, ministers could introduce a ban on mobile phones in schools as early as January 2022. By Will Hazell. In a separate article, experts explain the pros and cons of the proposed ban. By Will Hazell and Rhiannon Williams, iNews. The article quotes Lara Péchard, head at St Margaret’s School, and Jane Prescott, head of Portsmouth High School.


'The decolonisation of education is an urgent issue'


A new report from the NEU has stated that the education system has been "shaped by colonisation and neoliberalism", adding "the goal of decolonising education has become even more urgent" following the Black Lives Matter protests prompted by the killing of George Floyd. By Charlotte Wace, The Times.

The Times

Independent school explores the role of plants in boosting pupil wellbeing


According to research conducted by Putney High School, introducing plants into classrooms improves the air quality and enables pupils to think more clearly and feel less stressed. By Nicola Woolcock, The Times. The article quotes Suzie Longstaff, head of the school.

The Times


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