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Daily News Summary
15 March 2021

image Coronavirus: Gavin Williamson faces legal challenge over face mask rules
image Exams 2022: Labour calls for "meaningful adjustments" to next year's GCSEs
image Education secretary rejects calls to scrap GCSEs
image Schools identified in testimonials detailing sexual harassment and abuse
image Independent school parents 'concerned about their children's chances of getting into Oxbridge'
image Letters: 'The UK Government needs to pay the market rate to attract and retain teachers'
image MPs back bill to reduce school uniform costs
image 'We live in a democracy, but we don't practise that model in schools'

Coronavirus: Gavin Williamson faces legal challenge over face mask rules

 

Lawyers acting on behalf of the National Deaf Children's Society have sent a Letter before Action to Gavin Williamson, stating the guidance on face masks in schools is "unlawful, irrational and inconsistent" with his legal duties to promote the wellbeing of children in England. By Camilla Turner, The Telegraph.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), has warned that some parents could withdraw consent for COVID-19 tests, amid concerns they will be forced to self-isolate and miss work if their child tests positive. By Richard Vaughan and Will Hazell, iNews.

Professor Jon Deeks, a biostatistician from the University of Birmingham, has said it is likely that 70 per cent of positive COVID-19 test results identified in schools are false positives. By Sarah Knapton, The Telegraph.

Sylvia, a Teach First ambassador and secondary school science teacher, writes in iNews stating: "To truly enable a long-lasting recovery in education, teachers need more time to fully support every one of their pupils."

Geoff Barton writes in Tes reflecting on the events of the last year, arguing "we could use this year of national crisis to shape a genuinely transformational COVID legacy in education".

Schools Week explores the Government's plan to expand the National Tutoring Programme. By Samantha Booth.

Bruce Adamson, the children's commissioner for Scotland, has said the Scottish Government should prioritise the full reopening of schools, citing the mental health of pupils as his "biggest concern". By Jeremy Watson, The Sunday Times.

 

Exams 2022: Labour calls for "meaningful adjustments" to next year's GCSEs

 

The Labour Party is urging the Government to alter next year's GCSE exams in recognition of pupils' learning loss, as research shows the average Year 10 student has missed one in eight days of teaching time since their courses began. By Tony Diver, The Telegraph.

 
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The Telegraph

Education secretary rejects calls to scrap GCSEs

 

Speaking at ASCL's virtual conference on Friday, Gavin Williamson said the Government would not be scrapping GCSEs, despite growing calls for reform. By Zoe Tidman, The Independent. The article references a quote from Jane Prescott, headteacher at Portsmouth High School and president of the Girls' Schools Association.

 
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The Independent

Schools identified in testimonials detailing sexual harassment and abuse

 

The Telegraph reports a number of schools have been named on Everyone's Invited, a website and social media account sharing the testimonials of survivors of sexual harassment and abuse. By Katherine Rushton, Claire Newell, Sophie Barnes and Callum Adams.

Sally-Anne Huang, chair of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and high master of St Paul's School, has written to alumni saying "we have made children's services aware of the website and would always investigate fully ... informing the police where a criminal act may have been committed". By Sian Griffiths and Isabelle Stanley, The Sunday Times. The article quotes Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC), and the heads of several schools in membership of the ISC's constituent associations.

Speaking to The Times, Soma Sara, the woman behind Everyone's Invited, explains why she is sharing survivors' testimonies. By Alice Thomson.

 

Independent school parents 'concerned about their children's chances of getting into Oxbridge'

 

According to The Times, some parents sending their children to independent schools are concerned they may be jeopardising their chances of getting into Oxford and Cambridge, as the number of state-educated applicants accepted into top universities continues to rise. By Nicola Woolcock and Emma Yeomans. The article quotes the heads of several schools in membership of the ISC's constituent associations, many of whom say their pupils are instead choosing to go to universities abroad.

 
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The Times

Letters: 'The UK Government needs to pay the market rate to attract and retain teachers'

 

Mark S Steed, principal of Kellett School in Hong Kong, writes to The Sunday Times in response to reports about teacher pay, warning shortages in the UK's state sector will continue unless the Government pays "the market rate". The article can be found three quarters of the way down the page.

 
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The Sunday Times

MPs back bill to reduce school uniform costs

 

BBC News reports on a bill drafted by a Labour MP and supported by ministers, which could require schools to make their uniforms more affordable.

 
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BBC

'We live in a democracy, but we don't practise that model in schools'

 

The Guardian interviews Lucy Stephens, a teacher who has set up The New School - an independent school with no fees which operates on a "democratic" decision-making model for pupils and staff. By Jess Staufenberg.

 
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The Guardian

 

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