How to look after your mental health

Our mental wellbeing is just as important as our physical health, so it’s important that we all take steps to make sure we take good care of it. That’s why as part of Mental Health Awareness week, we’re providing our readers with five practical and simple ways to look after their mental health. Making these small changes to how you live won’t take up lots of time or cost a small fortune. They are designed so that anyone can follow…

Pause tests to allow primary school children to catch up

A collation of head teachers, parents and MPs are calling on Downing Street to pause SATs and all statutory assessments in primary school in England to provide children with adequate time to properly catch up on lost learning caused by school closures. The government’s plans to assess four and five-year-old children in their first few weeks of school from September should be postponed, according to a report from the More Than A Score campaign group. A YouGov survey of 2,012…

Teachers don’t believe the school day should be extended

An overwhelming majority of teachers do not believe extending the school day or changing term lengths is vital for helping children catch up with missed learning due to the pandemic, a survey suggests. Around two in three teachers (68%) believe pupils should be supported through sport and exercise and increased creative and practical learning (66%), the poll found. It comes after the Secretary for Education, Gavin Williamson, confirmed that changes to the summer holidays and longer school days had not…

Weekly Covid-19 tests for all students’ families

Free rapid coronavirus testing is expected to be offered to the families of all pupils in England under the government’s plan to reopen schools. Rapid testing allows for positive cases of Covid-19 to be detected in under 30 minutes, helping prevent the spread of the virus. Tests will be provided to pupils’ households, as well as those in their childcare or support bubbles, regardless of whether anyone has symptoms, the government announced over the weekend. According to the Department of…

School leaders call for teachers to be vaccinated

Over one hundred headteachers have demanded the government agree to vaccinate all teachers across the UK in a bid to return children to the classroom “without further delay”. The 135 school leaders, the majority of which are from independent schools, signed a letter calling for staff within the education sector to be vaccinated. In the letter, coordinated by William Goldsmith, headmaster of St George’s School Windsor Castle, they said: “This is saving lives, bringing light to a dark period for…

Pupil motivation is a significant concern, Ofsted study finds

Although remote education is helping to plug the learning gap during the Covid-19 pandemic, pupils’ engagement and motivation remain significant challenges for schools and parents, according to a new Ofsted report. Published yesterday, the report found that nearly half of parents who responded to Ofsted’s survey said that keeping their child focused on studying was a top concern, along with motivation and having enough contact with teachers. This view was echoed by school leaders, with many working hard to increase…

Mass coronavirus testing for secondary school pupils

Mass coronavirus testing is to be rolled out immediately for all secondary school pupils in parts of London, Kent and Essex in a bid to bring down the soaring number of infections in those areas, Matt Hancock has announced. The Health Secretary said “by far” the fastest rise in coronavirus infection rates in those areas was in 11 to 18-year-olds. Therefore, this age group should be tested regardless of symptoms, he said. Speaking at a Downing Street briefing yesterday evening,…

Marcus Rashford forces second government U-turn

Disadvantaged children will be given free school meals over the Christmas holidays, in a major government U-turn that has delighted Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford. The football star has been campaigning for the government to extend its free school meals support, an initiative which has been met with overwhelming support from charities, individuals and local authorities across the United Kingdom. Following his team’s premier league clash against Everton on Saturday, Rashford received a personal phone call from Prime…

A-levels and GCSEs to be delayed in 2021

The majority of A-level and GCSE exams in England will be delayed by three weeks next year due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed. The 2021 exams will go ahead, but the majority of tests will be pushed back to give pupils more time to catch up on their learning following school closures. In a written statement on Monday, Mr Williamson said: “I can confirm that GCSE, AS and A level exams in 2021 will…

Grammar school advocate appointed as DfE Director

Nick Timothy, who served as chief of staff to Theresa May, has been appointed as a non-executive director of the Department for Education (DfE). During his time advising the former prime minister, Timothy was widely regarded as the driving force behind the controversial plan to bring back grammar schools, before resigning in 2017 after the Conservative Party lost their majority at the general election that year. Timothy was also a fierce critic of the higher education sector. In reaction to…