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Daily News Summary
29 March 2021

image 'Sexual harassment and abuse in schools is a national issue'
image Exams 2021: Only half of schools plan to let their pupils sit "mini exams" this year
image Coronavirus: Data reveals increase in infections among secondary school pupils
image Letters: "It is time we trusted our teachers in their ability to assess their students"
image More than 60,000 racist incidents recorded in schools in the last five years
image Training for mental health leads in schools 'could begin in the autumn'
image New music curriculum to feature Joseph Bologne, the 'black Mozart'

'Sexual harassment and abuse in schools is a national issue'

 

Detective Superintendent Mel Laremore, a senior Metropolitan Police officer, has described sexual harassment and abuse as a "national issue", not limited to independent schools. BBC News.

Soma Sara, founder of the Everyone's Invited campaign, writes in iNews about the issue of 'rape culture', saying "while famous public schools grab headlines, they are by no means the only places where it thrives, and its prevalence is overshadowed by the focus on a handful of institutions". Writing in The Times, Ms Sara states: "When we direct the blame onto a person or place we are undermining an important message: rape culture is everywhere."

Helen Pike, master of Magdalen College School, appeared on the BBC Radio 4's Today programme saying 'everyone is moving heaven and earth to ensure that our young people are safe in schools'. Listen from 2:32:35.

Officials from the Home Office and the Department for Education (DfE) are working with senior officers as part of a national investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in schools, as highlighted by the Everyone's Invited campaign. By Christopher Hope and Patrick Sawer, The Telegraph.

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs Council's child protection lead, has warned that the allegations could become the nation's "next major scandal", adding that he believes every police force across the country will have to carry out investigations into abuse in schools. By Hayley Dixon, The Telegraph. Speaking to The Times, Mr Bailey suggested that some schools may have covered up sexual offences to protect their reputations. By Fiona Hamilton, Emma Yeomans and Steven Swinford.

Robert Halfon, the chair of the Education Select Committee, has called for an inquiry into allegations of a 'rape culture' in schools, adding that he believes Ofsted should be responsible for carrying out inspections at independent schools. By Nicola Woolcock and Ben Ellery, The Times. The article quotes the Independent Schools Council. Read Mr Halfon's commentary in full in The Sunday Telegraph.

A source from the DfE has warned schools could be forced to close if they are "found to not be meeting the required safeguarding standard". By Haroon Siddique, The Guardian.

 

Exams 2021: Only half of schools plan to let their pupils sit "mini exams" this year

 

The Sunday Times reports on concerns of a 'two-tier' grading system, after a survey found that only half of schools plan to use question papers provided by exam boards this year. By Sian Griffiths.

New guidance published by the Joint Council for Qualifications has warned that some students "might attempt to gain an unfair advantage" by "submitting fabricated evidence or plagiarised work". By Zoe Tidman, The Independent.

Schools Week reports Ofqual has dropped a proposed requirement for headteachers to sign a declaration stating that students have "completed sufficient content" to allow them to progress to the next stage in their education. By Samantha Booth.

According to Schools Week, the DfE is set to cover the costs of appeals to exam boards over teacher assessed grades. By Freddie Whittaker.

 

Coronavirus: Data reveals increase in infections among secondary school pupils

 

The Office for National Statistics has said that there has been an increase in COVID-19 infections in secondary school pupils, but it is "too early to say if this is a larger trend". ITV News.

A number of schools in England are trialling a COVID-19 daily testing scheme that would eliminate the need for self-isolation among those who come into contact with a positive case. By Emily Goddard, The Independent.

Lindsay Paterson, professor of education policy at Edinburgh University, writes in The Sunday Times arguing: "It may hurt children's wellbeing to talk about education lost in lockdown, but it is far worse to ignore it."

According to Schools Week, headteacher vacancies have declined despite warnings of a "post-COVID exodus" of school leaders. By Tom Belger.

The DfE has announced that school day trips can resume from 12 April and residential visits can return from 17 May. By Tony Diver, The Telegraph.

 

Letters: "It is time we trusted our teachers in their ability to assess their students"

 

Graham Davies, a Spanish teacher at Lancing College, writes to The Times in support of calls to broaden the curriculum from the age of 16, adding a return to GCSEs "would only compound the stress and anxiety from which so many pupils are suffering as a result of the damaging effects of the pandemic". The letter is the second featured on the page.

 
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The Times

More than 60,000 racist incidents recorded in schools in the last five years

 

According to The Guardian, more than 60,000 racist incidents in UK schools have been recorded in the past five years, with Anne Longfield, the former children's commissioner for England, warning "this could be just the tip of the iceberg". By David Batty and Nazia Parveen.

 
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The Guardian

Training for mental health leads in schools 'could begin in the autumn'

 

According to Schools Week, training for senior mental health leads in schools could commence in the autumn, with funding handed directly to schools and colleges. By Samantha Booth.

 
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Schools Week

New music curriculum to feature Joseph Bologne, the 'black Mozart'

 

According to The Sunday Times, Joseph Bologne, an 18th century violinist and composer who is also known as the "black Mozart", will feature in the new music curriculum announced by the Government last week. By Sian Griffiths.

 
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The Sunday Times

 

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