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ISC Daily News Summary

ISC Daily News Summary 13 January 2022

Coronavirus: Social mobility expert calls for “urgent review” of the National Tutoring Programme

General education

Lee Elliot Major, professor of social mobility at Exeter University, has called for a review of the National Tutoring Programme after official data revealed that the scheme had only met 10 per cent of its target. He said "the fear is that this will be a huge lost opportunity for the hundreds of thousands of pupils, particularly those from poorer backgrounds, who have suffered severe learning loss". By Nicola Woolcock, The Times.

David James, deputy head at an independent school in London, writes for Tes outlining six key challenges facing independent schools. Mr James writes "while the short-term impact of the pandemic has not been as damaging as feared, the medium- to long-term consequences of COVID remain mostly unknown".

Graham Archer, director for education recovery at the Department for Education, has told MPs that schools could use tutors and mentors employed through the National Tutoring Programme to support teaching “where that is necessary” amid high rates of teacher absences. By Freddie Whittaker, Schools Week.

Robin Walker, the schools minister, has said that teacher absence rates in England are less than what the Government was expecting, despite 44,000 being off last Thursday. He said: “What we’ve seen so far this year is some challenging levels of staff absence, but actually less than we had been projecting before the end of the year." By Will Hazell, iNews.

The Government has said it will fund its breakfast clubs programme in full for another four months “in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges that schools have faced”. By Freddie Whittaker, Schools Week.

The British Lung Foundation has warned parents to be on high alert for a respiratory syncytial virus that is causing children breathing difficulties due to lowered immunity in the population caused by lockdowns and the pandemic. By Katie Gibbons, Paul Morgan-Bentley and Kat Lay, The Times.

More students are choosing universities outside of the UK, survey finds

Higher education

According to a survey by the Council of British International Schools (COBIS), more students are choosing universities outside of the UK after leaving school. The annual survey found that while 96 per cent of school leavers are going to university, only 42 per cent of those are going to university in the UK, down from 50 per cent in 2020. The article quotes Colin Bell, CEO of COBIS. By Serena Haththotuwa, Independent Education Today.

‘It’s a big mistake to overlook the arts and creative subjects’

Teaching and learning

Keith Chapman, creator of Bob the Builder and Paw Patrol, writes for The Times arguing creativity is the most important skill you can encourage in young people, adding that "our economic recovery depends on creative success".

'The evidence is that it absolutely improves academic standards'

General education

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber has called for the Government to recognise the transformative effect that classical music tuition can have on the lives of children in disadvantaged communities. He said: "It’s not about necessarily turning them into musicians, but the fact that music is something that liberates kids.” By Dalya Alberge, The Guardian.

Debate over school trust's transgender policy

General education

BBC News reports on the debate which has resulted from a decision by the Girls’ Day School Trust to clarify its admissions policy that it will not accept applications from pupils who are legally male, even if they identify as female.

Department for Education proposes changes to safeguarding rules

Child welfare

Schools Week takes a closer look at the Department for Education's new draft guidance on safeguarding in schools. By Freddie Whittaker.

Schools minister rejects return of key stage 3 SAT exams


Robin Walker, schools minister, has appeared to rule out reinstating SATs at key stage 3, but said internal tests could be used to improve literacy. By Freddie Whittaker, Schools Week.

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