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Daily News Summary
8 March 2021

image Coronavirus: Millions of children return to classrooms as schools reopen
image Exams 2021: Pupils in Wales to receive provisional grades in June
image The Sunday Times' analysis of independent school salaries
image Researchers find "significant imbalance" in the distribution of school street schemes
image Pupils' history podcast attracts thousands of listeners worldwide

Coronavirus: Millions of children return to classrooms as schools reopen

 

Millions of children in England have returned to school today, in what Boris Johnson has described as an important first step towards a "sense of normality". By Sean Coughlan, BBC News.

The Times explores some of the measures schools are taking to ensure the safe return of pupils. By Nicola Woolcock and Emma Yeomans. The article quotes Helen Pike, master of Magdalen College School.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson writes in The Sun welcoming the reopening of schools, saying: "Our cautious approach, and the broad range of safety measures, are going to enable children to hit the ground running."

SafeEdForAll, an informal group of parents, has written to ministers saying they are "concerned about the risks posed by the imminent restart of in-person teaching". By Zoe Tidman, The Independent.

New survey findings suggest parents are most concerned about large groups congregating at the school gates as pupils return to classrooms. By Nicola Woolcock, The Times.

According to a survey by the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), 52 per cent of secondary school headteachers have struggled to obtain parental consent for COVID-19 tests. By Zoe Tidman, The Independent.

The Royal Statistical Society has published a paper warning that children may be kept off school unnecessarily due to false positive COVID-19 test results. By Christopher Hope and Laura Sharman, The Telegraph.

The Telegraph reports ASCL has issued a letter to parents warning that schools could close if not enough pupils wear face masks. By Camilla Turner and Ben Riley-Smith.

Professor Allyson Pollock, director of the Newcastle University Centre for Excellence in Regulatory Science, has expressed concern about the rollout of mask-wearing and mass testing in schools, saying "we have not evaluated the usefulness of the programme, the harms, the benefits and the costs". By Camilla Turner, The Telegraph.

Amanda Spielman, Ofsted's chief inspector, has said children are "adaptable and flexible", and will be able to live with the "inconvenience" of wearing masks and taking COVID-19 tests for a few weeks. By Nicola Woolcock, The Times.

Gavin Williamson has said longer school days and shorter holidays are among "a whole range of proposals" ministers are considering to help pupils catch up on their learning. BBC News.

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, has said there is "substantial evidence to suggest that some children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, may benefit from holidays being spread more evenly across the school year". By Will Hazell, iNews.

Sir Kevan Collins, the education recovery commissioner, writes in The Guardian arguing "radical solutions" are needed to support pupils as they emerge from the pandemic.

Jake Berry, a Conservative MP for Rossendale and Darwen, writes in The Telegraph arguing "we should be asking recently retired teachers to return to take on the task of assisting pupils to catch up after COVID".

The Guardian reports the National Tutoring Programme has been met with criticism from headteachers. By Sally Weale and Peter Walker.

According to a survey by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, two thirds of parents in England are concerned about the amount of learning their children have lost during lockdown. By Jeanette Long, BBC News.

A new poll by the National Citizen Service has found 51 per cent of sixth form students would like the opportunity to repeat a year. By Joanna Whitehead, iNews.

The Observer reports schools are expected to prioritise pupils' emotional and physical needs, as new research highlights concerns over the impact of lockdown on children's wellbeing. By Donna Ferguson, Harriet Grant and Michael Savage.

The Sunday Times explores the impact of the pandemic on young people's mental health. By Emily Dugan.

BBC News reports boarding schools and parents have welcomed the Government's decision to allow international pupils to quarantine in their own dormitories upon returning from "red list" countries. The article quotes Gavin Horgan, headmaster of Millfield School, Eugene du Toit, headmaster of Wellington School, and the Boarding Schools' Association.

Speaking to The Telegraph, several teachers and school leaders reflect on their experiences during the pandemic. By Victoria Lambert. The article quotes Michael Tippett, head of Newcastle High School for Girls, and Barbara Langford, head of maths and deputy head - academic at Westbourne House School.

 

Exams 2021: Pupils in Wales to receive provisional grades in June

 

Exams regulator Qualification Wales has said A-level and GCSE pupils in Wales will be told their provisional grades in June, to allow time for appeals before final results are confirmed. By Bethan Lewis, BBC News.

 
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BBC

The Sunday Times' analysis of independent school salaries

 

The Sunday Times has analysed the salaries of staff at independent schools, following an increase in the number of senior teachers earning £100,000 or more. By Robert Watts and Sian Griffiths.

The paper also features a poll asking readers if they think independent schools should lose their charitable status. The result of the poll will be published in The Sunday Times on 14 March.

 

Researchers find "significant imbalance" in the distribution of school street schemes

 

A new study has found that 0.7 per cent of primary schools outside of London have imposed traffic restrictions during drop-off and pick-up times, designed to reduce the amount of air pollution children are exposed to. By Graeme Paton, The Times.

 
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The Times

Pupils' history podcast attracts thousands of listeners worldwide

 

The Times features an article on the growing popularity of 'The Historic Present', a history podcast created by two GCSE pupils at University College School in Hampstead. By Mark Bridge.

 
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The Times

 

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