We round up the latest news affecting schools.
Upcoming Ofsted inspections will be conducted remotely
Ofsted has confirmed that until 8 March at the earliest
all planned Ofsted inspection activity will be carried out remotely. Remote inspections will take place at schools rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ as planned. But it will also follow up on complaints raised by parents across all grades of school to resolve issues, with a particular focus on remote learning.
£40,000 lifetime earnings loss as a result of lost time in school
UK pupils could stand to lose an average of £40,000 each in lifetime earnings from lost time in school because of COVID, according to a
report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). The report says the reduction in face-to-face teaching could potentially result in a total of £350bn in lost lifetime earnings for the UK's 8.7m schoolchildren.
The report adds that this would also hit future tax revenues.
Government data shows one in five primary pupils is at school during England lockdown
Attendance in state-funded primary schools was 22% on 28 January, a slight increase on the previous week, according to the
latest weekly figures. The figures were lower in secondary settings, with only 5% of pupils attending in person.
The data also shows that 38% of teachers and school leaders were working on-site in open state-funded schools, with 49% of this being in primary schools.
Prime Minister confirms schools and colleges won’t return to full face-to-face education after February half-term in England
Schools and colleges in England
won’t return to full-time education until 8 March at the earliest. Current attendance restrictions will remain in place until then.
It’s hoped that the vaccination of the top four priority groups will be completed by 15 February, giving three weeks before schools and colleges can potentially reopen for immunity to build up.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson explained reopening schools was the top priority, and he was hoping to do so on 8 March if the “economic and social restrictions” could be eased “then or thereafter”.
The government has also committed to publishing a plan for leaving lockdown by the end of February. They’ll also provide a programme of catch-up into the next financial year, including specific initiatives for summer schools.
Northern Ireland schools will also remain closed until 8 March, but schools in Scotland and Wales could begin a phased return in mid-February.
Ofsted study finds schools are struggling to keep pupils motivated with remote learning
Ofsted have found that
children’s motivation is the biggest concern that parents have with remote learning. 40% of parents who responded to the YouGov survey said their child’s focus on studying was a worry. This compares with only 11% of parents who saw access to an appropriate device as a challenge.
Other top parental concerns were motivation and lack of contact with classmates and teachers. These findings were backed up by school leaders, with many working hard to increase pupils’ engagement and to find better ways for pupils and teachers to interact.
Department for Education consults on proposed move to a system of post-qualification admissions
The DfE has opened a consultation on Post-Qualification Admissions Reform, which closes on 13 May 2021. The document proposes a system that would see exams such as A-levels shifted earlier into the school year to give time for them to be graded and placed to be allocated.
This follows a review of the admissions system by the Office for Students, the university regulator, which suggested moving to a post-qualification system could be fairer. A second model suggested in the department’s consultation would see the date of exams unchanged, but A-level results day moved from mid-August to the end of July.
Consultation launched on how GCSE, AS and A-level grades should be awarded in summer 2021
A-level and GCSE results will be decided by teacher-assessed grades this year, after the exams were cancelled because of the lockdown. It follows a
two-week consultation by the Department for Education and Ofqual seeking views on proposals over how this should be done.
The proposal is that in summer 2021, a student’s grade in each subject will be based on their teachers’ assessment of the standard at which the student is performing. Students can appeal if they disagree with the assessment.
Under the plans, teachers could use papers provided by exam boards to assess students. They’d then mark these and use them as evidence for the given grade.
Rapid coronavirus tests for primary and nursery school staff
The Department for Education has published
guidance allowing nursery and primary education staff in England access to rapid coronavirus tests, even when they’re asymptomatic. Staff at primary schools, maintained nursery schools and school-based nurseries will be asked to carry out tests twice a week using supplied lateral flow device test kits. Testing isn’t mandatory.
Business Minister calls on employers to spot early signs of domestic abuse
The Business Minister has called on employers to spot early signs of domestic abuse in an
open letter to all UK employers. The open letter also outlines key steps employers can take to build awareness of domestic abuse, and help workers affected access necessary support.
The letter follows the final report, published by the government, from the Review into Workplace Support for Victims of Domestic Abuse. The report collected evidence on what more can be done by employers and the government to tackle all forms of domestic abuse.
Government updates guidance on protecting clinically extremely vulnerable people
The government has updated its
guidance on working safely during coronavirus. The updated guidance says that the most vulnerable individuals are recommended not to attend work while lockdown is in effect, even if they can’t work from home.
HMRC publishes list of employers who claimed under the furlough scheme in December 2020
To help combat fraud, the Public Accounts Committee asked HMRC to publish a list of names of employers claiming under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme by the end of January 2021. The list was published last week.
The list will be published monthly from February, and
you can see the full list here. The list includes the employer name, but it doesn’t include any employers that have paid back the grant, or have applied to have their details withheld.
Read more – February 2021
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