Concerns raised for babies born in virus lockdown

Concerns for the wellbeing of babies born in lockdown are being raised, as parents struggle to access regular support services. England’s children’s commissioner is highlighting pressures facing mothers caring for babies without the usual family and state support networks. Playgroups are closed and health visitor “visits” are being carried out remotely in most cases. The NHS said adaptations had been […]

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Teachers and parents: how do you feel about schools reopening?

Prime minister Boris Johnson is due to announce on Sunday that children aged 10 and 11 will be the first cohort allowed back into schools from 1 June. Schools would have been closed for a period of 10 weeks, coinciding with the Easter holidays, due to fears over coronavirus transmission. We would like to hear from teachers and parents about […]

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Call for £700 catch-up premium for poorer pupils

A catch-up premium of £700 for every pupil on free school meals should be given to secondary schools when they reopen, say northern MPs and peers. They believe such a premium would help prevent poorer children in England falling behind their classmates because of school closures due to Covid-19. It would fund up to two-and-a-half hours of tuition for six […]

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Return to school in children’s interests – Ofsted

It is in children’s interests to return to school “as soon as possible”, says the head of England’s schools watchdog, Ofsted. Amanda Spielman told a panel of MPs home and online learning were “imperfect substitutes” for school. But she acknowledged adult health and infection risk needed to be considered. Ms Spielman also said she expected to see a rise in […]

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Around ‘2m children face higher risks’ in lockdown

Around two million children in England face a range of vulnerabilities likely to worsen during the Covid-19 crisis, says the Children’s Commissioner. A report for her office has mapped out, by local area, the vast challenges faced by the schools and councils supporting them in lockdown. The risks range from mentally ill parents and substance abuse, to cramped housing and […]

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Loss of international student fees could decimate UK research

As university researchers race to find a way out of the coronavirus pandemic, top institutions are warning that losing at least half their international students will blow a huge hole in their research budgets and lead to cuts in vital scientific projects. Many universities are anticipating a loss of between 80 and 100% of their usual intake of international students […]

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‘Digital poverty’ in schools where few have laptops

“In our schools, 60% to 70% of children wouldn’t have laptops,” says Wayne Norrie, head of an academy trust with schools in disadvantaged areas. With schools closed and pupils studying online at home, he says, it is important to recognise the social gap in access to technology. “Coronavirus has revealed the scale of the digital divide,” he says. The Department […]

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Heads say 1 June earliest realistic school opening

The earliest “realistic” point at which schools in England could start re-opening would be 1 June, head teachers’ leader Geoff Barton has said. “We cannot see any realistic way that schools could be re-opened to more pupils before the second half of the summer term,” he said. And “planning would need to begin very soon” in order to meet a […]

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