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ISC Daily News Summary

ISC Daily News Summary 22 May 2020

Coronavirus: Scientific evidence behind school reopenings due to be published today

Child welfare

A spokesperson for Number 10 has confirmed the scientific advice informing the Government's decision to reopen schools from 1 June will be published today. By Amy Gibbons, Tes. Sir David King, chair of the 'Independent SAGE' committee, has claimed the risk to children would be halved if ministers delayed the school reopening date by two weeks. By Catherine Lough, Tes.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, has called on education secretary Gavin Williamson to establish a taskforce to ensure schools are reopened in a "safe and planned way". By Heather Stewart and Richard Adams, The Guardian.

The Scottish Government published its measures for reopening schools yesterday, with pupils in Scotland expected to return to school on 11 August. By Mark McLaughlin, The Times. Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, has described the Scottish Government's "blended" approach to learning as "potentially the biggest curriculum challenge of this century". By Henry Hepburn, Tes. Peter Weir, Northern Ireland's education minister, has said schools should aim to reopen to a "key cohort" of pupils in late August. By Michael McHugh, The Times.

Christopher King, chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools, has said some independent schools might decide to keep Year 6 children at home when they start to reopen to more pupils. Tes. The article quotes Caroline Jordan, headmistress at Headington School. Robin Fletcher, chief executive of the Boarding Schools' Association, writes to The Times calling on the Government to "urgently clarify" how boarding schools can reopen safely to international students. The letter can be found halfway down the page.

In a joint letter to school and college leaders, a number of education unions have warned of the "potential liability" they face by following the "current deeply flawed guidance". They add they will be reminding their members of their "legal rights should any member contract Covid-19 upon returning to school". By Billy Camden, Schools Week.

Tom Hunt, the Conservative MP for Ipswich, writes in The Telegraph criticising opposition to the reopening of schools from 1 June, saying "some local councils and teaching unions have dragged their heels rather than engage constructively on how we can get children's education back on track safely".

iNews reports headteachers are "drowning in information", with the Department for Education (DfE) updating its guidance for schools 41 times in the space of a week. By Will Hazell.

The Times reports schools that are planning to reopen have written to parents asking if they intend to send their children to school or not. By Nicola Woolcock and Rosemary Bennett.

According to a survey of 99 English councils, 68 cannot guarantee their schools will reopen for reception, Year 1 and Year 6 on 1 June. By Hannah Richardson, BBC News.

New guidance published by the DfE advises parents and carers that secondary schools should be planning "achievable work" for children to complete at home and providing feedback on their progress. By Freddie Whittaker, Schools Week.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour's shadow education secretary, has said "a review of the curriculum and a review of future assessments" is needed so that Year 10 and 12 pupils are not forced to catch up on lost GCSE and A-level work. By Dave Speck, Tes. A separate article in Tes reports the AQA exam board will not be paying or furloughing summer examiners as it has "promised to return any savings as a result of the cancellation of exams this summer to schools and colleges". By Catherine Lough.

The Youth Sports Trust has adapted its annual National School Sport Week to enable millions of pupils to participate in "virtual competition" during the lockdown. By Dave Speck, Tes.

BBC News reports on the online learning provision schools are offering, and considers whether video lessons could create an educational divide between children. By Dominic Casciani. The article quotes Jay Piggot, headmaster of Epsom College.

An article in Tes asks a panel of headteachers how they plan to reopen their primary schools. The Telegraph features images of some of the safety measures schools are putting in place before they reopen. By Camilla Turner and Yohannes Lowe.

An article in The Telegraph explores how children could benefit from part-time schooling when schools start to reopen. By Patrick Barkham.

iNews reports a number of Russell Group universities are planning to deliver a "hybrid" form of online and face-to-face teaching in the next academic year. By Will Hazell.

DfE announces funding for deployment of social workers in schools

Child welfare

The DfE has allocated £6.5 million of funding for the deployment of social workers in more than 150 schools to help staff identify children at risk of abuse and neglect. Tes.

Friday Feature: How schools are coming together to support their wider communities

And finally

This week's 'good news' round-up explores how pupils and staff are supporting their wider communities, from performing uplifting concerts to fundraising for laptops for children in digital poverty.

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