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ISC Daily News Summary

ISC Daily News Summary 20 May 2020

Coronavirus: Doubt cast over June 1 school reopening date

Child welfare

Justice secretary Robert Buckland has admitted there may not be a "uniform approach" to school reopenings from June 1, with at least 11 councils now refusing to open their schools on the date set by the prime minister. By Rob Merrick, The Independent. According to The Guardian, up to 1,500 primary schools in England could remain closed on June 1. By Sally Weale, Peter Walker and Josh Halliday.

Professor Dame Angela MacLean, the Government's deputy chief scientific adviser, has said a "highly effective track, trace and isolate system" should be in place before lockdown changes can be made, including the reopening of schools. By Freddie Whittaker, Schools Week. Therese Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, has suggested primary schools could reopen before the NHS contact-tracing app is made available nationwide. By Mike Wright, The Telegraph. Several public health officials have since come forward warning that reopening schools before a contact tracing system is in place will put more people "at risk". By Will Hazell, iNews.

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, has advised teachers not to engage with their headteachers when asked if they are available to return to school from June 1. By Nicola Woolcock, The Times.

Dr Peter English, chair of the British Medical Association's Public Health Commitee, has said schools can reopen on June 1, or earlier, "as soon as it is safe to do so and the evidence allows", having previously written a letter of support to the NEU after it advised members "not to engage" with the Government's plans. By Camilla Tominey and Camilla Turner, The Telegraph. Dr English's article can be read in full here.

Scottish ministers are discussing the return of school staff next month, with plans for pupils in Scotland to start back on August 11. By Emma Seith, Tes. According to The Telegraph, pupils would return to school on a part-time basis as part of a "blended" learning system. By Daniel Sanderson.

According to a poll of almost 30,000 teachers, just five per cent of respondents said they believe it is safe for more pupils to return to England's schools from June 1. By Sally Weale, The Guardian.

Thirty organisations have written to the prime minister urging the Government to introduce a five-point plan to minimise the impact of the pandemic on young people's mental health. By Katherine Sellgren, BBC News.

Lee Elliot Major, professor of social mobility at the University of Exeter, has said next year's GCSEs and A-levels should be cut down to "make the content students are expected to learn manageable". By Will Hazell, iNews.

The University of Cambridge has announced there will be no face-to-face lectures throughout the next academic year, though it "may be possible to host smaller teaching groups in person, as long as this conforms to social distancing requirements". BBC News.

Majority of Scottish teenagers feel pressure from schoolwork, findings suggest

Mental health

According to a survey from the World Health Organisation, 15-year-olds in Scotland experience the sixth highest rates of pressure from schoolwork out of 45 nations. By Emma Seith, Tes.

Independent schools celebrate Thank A Teacher Day

Independent sector

IE Today features some independent schools sharing messages of support for teachers on National Thank A Teacher Day.

GSA appoints new chief executive

Independent sector

The Girls' Schools Association (GSA) has announced Donna Stevens, head of research at the ISC, will take over from Vivienne Durham as chief executive from January 2021. IE Today. The article quotes Jane Prescott, president of GSA.

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