Latest Educational News

Coronavirus restrictions: 'I'm going to struggle at university because of my ADHD'

by BBC News, September 23, 2020

More than two million students are starting a new term at university, all under new ways of learning - with socially distanced socialising and living with people they weren't sharing with during lockdown. As part of Radio 1 Newsbeat's university coverage, Aberystwyth student Lacey Small writes about her worries for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

University is going to be very different this year.

At the moment everyone seems to be talking about how sorry they feel for freshers, but no one is talking about how current students are going to struggle too.

One thing that has been on my mind for the past few months is online learning because I know I'm going to struggle.

In 2018 I started my undergraduate degree studying film. My first year I excelled in all of my practical modules but never did quite as well with my theory ones.

"What's wrong with me....stupid idiot....why can't you just sit still and concentrate?" These thoughts ran through my mind on a daily basis.

'I'm going to make the most of it': can freshers' week be fun despite Covid?

by The Guardian, September 23, 2020

First-year drama student Lola Cook, 19, is going to Manchester University and can’t wait to get started. “I don’t mind what freshers’ will look like, I’m just excited to move out of home,” she says. “The situation has meant everyone has been stuck with their families for the past few months and people are just ready to go. I’m going to make the most of whatever experience I’m given.”

Others are less optimistic. “The vibes on the uni Facebook freshers’ page are dead and I’m not really sure what to expect. A lot of events will be held online, which is definitely the best thing to do, but in terms of being able to meet people in the first few weeks it feels like we will be very limited,” says business student Emma Bridge, 18.

Covid-19: number of schools in England 'not fully open' quadruples

by The Guardian, September 23, 2020

The number of schools in England badly affected by Covid-19 cases among students and staff has quadrupled in the space of a week, and the number of pupils absent rose by 50%, according to estimates released by the Department for Education.

The DfE’s figures revealed that 4% of state schools were classed as “not fully open” last week because of Covid-19, compared with 1% of schools seven days before, including cases where entire year groups had been sent home. Around 20 schools were closed outright for Covid-related reasons.

Christian not sacked by UK school for LGBTQ+ 'beliefs', tribunal hears

by The Guardian, September 23, 2020

A secondary school headteacher has denied that a member of staff was suspended because she was a Christian who raised concerns about teaching young children about LGBTQ+ relationships, an tribunal has heard.

Kristie Higgs, 44, was dismissed for gross misconduct by Farmor’s school in Fairford, Gloucestershire, last year after sharing and commenting on social media posts about relationship education.

The posts raised concerns about plans to teach the No Outsiders programme at her son’s Church of England school.

A tribunal in Bristol has heard that Higgs, a pastoral assistant at Farmor’s, was suspended by headteacher Matthew Evans and, following a disciplinary process, was sacked.

University of Liverpool confirms 87 Covid cases in week before start of term

by BBC News, September 23, 2020

Pressure is mounting on UK universities to cancel face-to-face teaching and move all studies online as cases multiply on campuses, including the University of Liverpool where almost 90 students and staff have already tested positive.

Students have barely begun their studies at the start of the new academic year, but at the University of Liverpool there have already been 87 confirmed cases over a seven-day period in the week before term began.

Details emerged as Boris Johnson delivered a sombre warning to MPs of six months of further restrictions, including a call to work from home where possible, in response to rising Covid infection rates. Universities should remain open, he said.

Australian teenager to address UN about Covid hardship among young women

by The Guardian, September 23, 2020

A 16-year-old Australian student, Mayela Dayeh, will address the United Nations general assembly on Wednesday night to present the findings of a survey that shows young women and girls are shouldering a greater economic, domestic and emotional load and working harder during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The study, released by humanitarian organisation Plan International as part of a report called “Halting Lives – The impact of Covid019 on girls and young women”, surveyed more than 7,000 15-to-24 year-olds across 14 countries.

“I think Covid has exacerbated issues we already knew were there, which we had either become complacent about or comfortable with, especially in terms of the gender divide,” Dayeh, a secondary school student, said.

Suffolk boy with rare cancer ready for first day at school

by BBC News, September 23, 2020

A boy who doctors feared would not survive when he was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer aged four months is due to start school.
Alec Carpenter, from Stowmarket in Suffolk, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2016 and will join his reception class on 28 September.
Doctors feared he would not survive more than two weeks after being diagnosed.
He has since had four operations and has been in remission for three years.
His mother Nicola, 41, said she cries when she sees what Alec has achieved, and she is now fundraising for Cancer Research UK.
She and husband Glen Carpenter, 44, who both work as tailors, said they were proud of their son.

Quadrupling in schools sending home pupils in Covid cases

by BBC Education, September 22, 2020

The number of schools in England sending home groups of pupils because of Covid-19 incidents has quadrupled in a week, according to the latest official figures.

Based on attendance last Thursday, they show 4% of schools not fully open because of confirmed or suspected cases - up from 1% the previous week.

This could mean about a thousand schools sending home pupils.

Overall attendance has also dipped slightly from 88% to 87%.

This means over a million children were off school that day, whether from Covid-related or other reasons.

Testing worries
These are the second set of Department for Education attendance figures since schools returned in the autumn - and they show a significant increase in schools sending home groups of pupils or whole year groups because of concerns about coronavirus.

The figures, based on responses from 76% of state schools, show the situation last week, amid widespread concern about difficulties getting Covid tests for pupils and staff.

Schools that do not teach about LGBT+ relationships could fail Ofsted inspections

by The Telegraph, September 22, 2020

Leadership of secondary schools in which pupils do not learn about LGBT couples is likely to be judged as requiring improvement

Coronavirus: 'Booking a test is like getting Harry Potter tickets'

by BBC News, September 22, 2020

Demand for coronavirus tests has surged since pupils returned to schools, with many staff and students unable to tell a winter bug from the pandemic virus. How are teachers and heads coping with the disruption?

William Lau, a computer science teacher at Central Foundation Boys' School in North London, knew how important it was to get a test when his two-year-old daughter developed a fever at 3am on Tuesday.

He did not want students, who had already faced so much disruption to their education, to have any less time with a specialist teacher. And he did not want his own seven-year-old son to miss more school.

"We have just come out of six months of lockdown where students haven't had access to education. I teach in a school with quite high social deprivation. A lot of the students don't have computers at home they can do computer science work on," he said.

So he began trying to book a test in the early hours of the morning, then set an alarm to carry on at 07:00 BST, searching online for tips on where and when to try booking for the best results.

School figures show 88% of pupils were back for start of term

by BBC News, September 22, 2020

The first official figures for school attendance in England for the autumn term show 88% of pupils went back.

This is a higher absence rate than the usual figure of about 5% but it is not broken down to show whether pupils were at home because of Covid outbreaks.

The figures show attendance last Thursday, based on responses from almost three quarters of state schools.

Since the reopening, school leaders have warned that delays in testing are leading to year groups being sent home.

In the run-up to the new term the government called on parents to send their children back to school, with the assurance that safety measures would be in place to protect them from the spread of Covid-19.

Coronavirus testing: Education secretary defends system for schools

by BBC News, September 22, 2020

England's education secretary has defended the Covid-19 testing system for schools, saying they can now order tests from the NHS directly.

Gavin Williamson said schools were being prioritised, amid claims by head teachers of problems accessing tests.

He stressed pupils sent home due to a Covid-19 case at their school should only seek tests if they have symptoms.

Head teachers have written to the prime minister about their fears of further delays as virus cases rise.

In their letter, teaching unions also called for easier access to public health advice to deal with Coronavirus cases in schools.

One-third of children in UK 'have heard racist comments at school'

by Guardian Education , September 22, 2020

Almost a third of children have heard racist comments at school, according to research by an anti-bullying campaign that suggests they are most likely to have experienced racism by about the age of 13.

A poll of 1,000 six to 15-year-olds found that while, overall, about 32% children had heard someone be racist at school, this figure rose to more than half – 52% – among 13-year-olds.

The findings came as children across the UK are settling back into an uncertain school year following an extended absence as a result of months of closures during the coronavirus outbreak. More than a third – 33% – said they were more worried than usual about returning to class.

The research aims to shed light on the true extent of racism and bullying in schools, and to raise awareness among both pupils and their parents. It was commissioned by The Diana Award, a youth charity named for the former Princess of Wales, and the Nationwide building society.

The charity will hold a “big anti-bullying assembly” to be shown in primary school classrooms and homes on 28 September, which will involve celebrities including England defender Tyrone Mings and football manager Gareth Southgate.

One-in-20 pupils at home with lockdown-related issues

by BBC Education, September 22, 2020

Around one in 20 children in England are out of school due to issues linked to the pandemic and lockdown, the Children's Commissioner has suggested.

Anne Longfield stressed the number of schools who have sent pupils home due to a Covid-19 case was very small.

There were many others, she said, with special needs or emotional problems, who had not yet returned from lockdown.

But getting Covid tests to schools quickly was a test the government could not afford to fail, she added.

Some eight million children attend England's schools and colleges, so 5% is about 400,000 pupils.

Ms Longfield told BBC News that the number of children back in school was good, thanks to the heroic efforts of teachers and school staff.

Heads warn of teacher shortages without Covid tests

by BBC News, September 22, 2020

Schools in England are being "severely hampered" by delays in Covid tests for teachers, say head teachers.

Jules White, organiser of the WorthLess? network of over 5,000 heads, says there is growing frustration at the lack of access to testing.

This means teachers have to isolate and that "serious staff shortages" could force partial closures in school.

But a government spokeswoman said "testing capacity is the highest it has ever been".

Mr White, a West Sussex head teacher whose group grew out of a school funding campaign, has written to England's Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to warn of disruption from delays in Covid testing.

Coronavirus: Teachers are isolating but still teach - by video

by BBC News, September 22, 2020

Imagine being in your classroom, aged seven, with your teacher being beamed in from her home by video-link.

At Heathfield Primary in Darlington that's exactly what's happening.

Mrs Craghill is teaching her class of seven- and eight-year-olds by video-link. Someone in her household tested positive for the virus, so she is having to self-isolate - but her lessons continue.

What must schools do if children get coronavirus
Coronavirus: Saliva test study will track school cases
Darlington, unlike some other towns in north-east England, has a relatively low transmission rate of coronavirus - but even here, schools are having to be resourceful and vigilant to ensure children can at last pick up their education after months of disruption.

Snap research by the BBC late last week showed hundreds of pupils were having to self isolate when small numbers of their classmates, in schools across England, showed symptoms of the virus.

This is of course a tiny proportion out of the millions of pupils in England's 27,000 schools - but it just shows how vigilant school communities have to be in order to contain the virus.

Keir Starmer has to abandon Corbyn's promise on student fees

by Guardian Education , September 22, 2020

As he makes his first leader’s speech in the unusual context of an online Labour party conference, Keir Starmer’s position is rock solid. Since his election, the party has pulled almost level with the Conservatives in the polls, and more Britons think he would make a better prime minister than Boris Johnson. He has had a good Covid crisis.

But the hard work of rowing his party away from the wilder shores of Corbynism has yet to begin. Starmer has so far fought shy of criticising Labour’s 2019 manifesto, apart from suggesting it was “overloaded” – and has yet to say which of its policies should be unloaded. Most people still do not know what he stands for.

Many of the members who voted for him as leader still look favourably on policies advanced by Jeremy Corbyn. But with Labour suffering its worst defeat since 1935 in the last general election, Starmer knows that to win, he has to recast that programme. Now, in the context of a Covid-ravaged economy, the pressure to unload some of those “overloaded” policies has increased.

Starmer has to win voters’ trust on the economy: the Conservatives are still regarded as better able to manage it than Labour. This means he has to persuade voters that Labour will use their taxes wisely, sacrificing policies beloved by many members – and breaking some of his campaign pledges.

Paradoxically, the most politically difficult pledge for Starmer to drop is the one that, in terms of Labour’s historic aims, should be the easiest: the abolition of university tuition fees.

I could lose my child if Covid closes her special needs school again

by Guardian, September 22, 2020

Like most parents, I love my child with all my heart. Unlike most parents, if there’s a Covid-19 case at her school and it has to close again, I could lose her.

My daughter Liora Sangeeta is 14, she has complex needs: epilepsy that medication can’t control, a chronic kidney condition and autism. Liora can’t speak and she’s doubly incontinent. She also has a habit of hitting her own head with her fists, as hard as she can, raising big bumps and sometimes blood. She’s under the care of Great Ormond Street hospital and needs medication 15 times per day.

Tempered by school and respite, it’s possible for Liora to live at home, where she is happy and adored, where her family experiences precious moments of fun and joy with her. She sleeps well in her bedroom surrounded by pictures and toys she’s had all her life, the pink blanket her cousin gave her when she was a baby, the drawing her dad did of her before she was born, the tiger picture from her amma (grandma) in India. Even though Liora has no understanding of the significance of these, she is a secure, confident little girl, surrounded by love.

Liora went back to school three weeks ago, two days a week. I didn’t home school during lockdown and neither did most special needs parents I know. That’s a luxury we are not able to even consider. Our goal was survival, getting through the day, the days. Since March, weekends and weekdays had merged into one.

A £35,000 in-school Covid testing machine? Only in the private sector

by The Guardian, September 21, 2020

The schools divide between private and state is not just about the quality of education – now it’s about whether or not the students and staff can get a coronavirus test.

While those at state schools have been struggling to book a test since the start of term, their peers at private schools are facing no such problem. Both the Independent Schools Association (ISA) and the Independent Association of Prep Schools say some of their members have privately purchased Covid-19 tests to use on pupils and staff who display symptoms.

The restaurant chefs transforming school meals

by The Guardian, September 21, 2020

It’s the first Monday of the new term at Woodmansterne School in Lambeth, south London, after a difficult summer. Head chefs Jake Taylor and Sam Riches and their team are preparing lunch for the primary kids. “Monday’s not our most ambitious day,” says Taylor, putting the finishing touches to trays of bright looking pasta and salads.

Today it’s macaroni cheese, with pasta alla norma and gnocchi pomodoro, and homemade coleslaw and roast beetroot on the side. The vegetables are from top supplier Entremettier, the olives from Belazu. “We made focaccia from scratch,” Taylor says. “It’s the Sportsman’s recipe, which bakes it hard at the start and then turns it right down, so it has this nice crust.”