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With increasing pressure on the Government it seems clear that a return to school in some form will take place in March. While we have published a ‘Roadmap to Reopening’ with proposals for a safe return, that is only the start, with plans around longer term recovery and system reform urgently needed.
With keynote speakers including Baroness Berridge, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System, DfE, and National Schools Commissioner Dominic Herrington in attendance, Schools North East launched the Roadmap to Reopening with practical steps to the safe and sustained reopening of schools.
The National Network of Special Schools carried out a survey of members, all School Business Professionals in special or alternative provision settings, at the end of January to help build a picture of what testing looks like in special school settings following the introduction of lateral flow testing.
We are looking at the experiences of our school leaders on the ground through lockdown and the pandemic. This week’s ‘Talking Heads’ comes from Alan Hardie, CEO at Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust.
A month after the reopening U-turn at the beginning of this term, despite growing calls for plans to be put in place around the wider opening of schools, policymakers are still yet to announce clear guidance on reopening. While Gavin Williamson has stated that schools would receive two weeks notice, the Prime Minister announced this week that pupils would not return before 8th March.
The House of Commons education select committee continued its inquiry into left behind white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. The committee took evidence from children’s charities and policy experts, focusing on the impact on early years.
We are looking at the experiences of our school leaders on the ground through lockdown and the pandemic. This week’s ‘Talking Heads’ comes from Rachel Campbell and Emily Carr, Co-Head Teachers at Bishopton Pupil Referral Unit.
Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green MP tabled an urgent question on Tuesday, asking the Department for Education to make a statement on the Government’s plan for the reopening of educational settings.
Schools North East Board Member Joanne Heaton has been awarded an OBE for services to Education. Jo became Chief Executive Officer of Northern Lights Learning Trust, Hartlepool last year and she is a valued board member of Schools North East.
Options around reopening are already being discussed in the media, and there has been speculation that prioritisation of teachers for the vaccine could lead to fully reopening schools. Schools North East wrote to Gavin Williamson, Education Secretary, this week to highlight that contingency plans must be put in place as soon as possible and that any return should be done on a local level, based on the evidence and trusting in the judgement of our school leaders.
The House of Commons education select committee heard from experts this week to explore the scientific evidence behind the decision to close schools during the latest national lockdown, and transmission rates among children. Giving evidence were Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries, Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and DfE’s Chief Scientific Advisor and Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser, Osama Rahman and Dougal Hargreaves.