Welcome to the Tes coronavirus liveblog. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is causing uncertainties for everyone.
Schools are facing unprecedented disruption with efforts to keep open and 'Covid-secure' and many teachers facing working with "bubbles" of pupils or delivering remote lessons.
Here, we aim to help teachers in the UK and in international schools by gathering together all the relevant stories in one place and keeping you updated with the latest news and announcements as and when they happen.
And, as ever, we also want to hear from you. What is different in your school, in your working life, because of the virus? If you have stories you want to share or information you think should be circulated, then contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com and Mary-Louise.Clews@tes.com.
Government schools policy has been a ‘shambles’ says Halfon
The chair of the Commons’ Education Select Committee has described the government’s handling of schools policy during the pandemic as a “huge shambles”.
Robert Halfon added that he felt "enormously sorry" for parents, pupils and teachers "for what has gone on".
Speaking to BBC’s Woman’s Hour, Mr Halfon said there now needed to be a “consistent policy” for schools and that he did not know why there had been such a swift U-turn over schools reopening between Sunday night and Monday evening.
He also said that there were there were still hundreds of thousands of children on the "wrong side of the digital divide" without access to laptops for remote learning during school closures.
Read the full story here.
BTECs: Dismay at DfE decision on January exams
Unions, students and sector leaders have called on the government to u-turn on the decision to let January exams go ahead as planned - despite the national lockdown.
Former DfE minister Gillian Keegan also urged the government to act fast and end the uncertainty for learners – some of whom are due to sit their assessments this week.
Read the full story here.
Gove hints at teacher assessment for GCSEs and A levels
Former education secretary Michael Gove has suggested teacher assessment could be used instead of exams this year, after prime minister Boris Johnson announced GCSEs and A levels were cancelled yesterday evening.
Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, Mr Gove said: "We will be putting in place alternative arrangements in order to make sure that the hard work that students have put in to acquire knowledge and to develop their skills is appropriately assessed, recognised and awarded.
"One of the things about assessment is that it necessarily involves those students doing particular tasks which teachers will assess and whether or not they’re moderated in a particular fashion by a particular awarding bodies or by others is a delicate process,” he added.
You can read the full story here.
School closures blamed on ministers’ handling of Covid
Teachers’ leaders have blamed the government for school closures, citing its “shambolic” approach to managing the pandemic after prime minister Boris Johnson announced schools would close yesterday.
Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teachers' union, said: "Why Boris Johnson allowed such confusion and chaos to build up around school openings before making this belated, blindingly obvious decision is beyond belief."
And Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ““It is very frustrating that [the government] issued legal threats to schools at the end of last term to prevent them moving to remote education, and then made a series of chaotic announcements about the start of this term."
Read the full story here.
Education secretary ‘gets others to resign’ when things go wrong
Former Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has accused education secretary Gavin Williamson of "getting others to resign" when things go wrong.
In an interview with the BBC this lunchtime, Mr Wilshaw, a former headteacher, said Mr Williamson should take “final accountability” for the actions of his department, and said that headteachers had been considering legal action against the government over the planned return of primary schools in England.
“He (Mr Williamson) has got a lot wrong up to now, hasn’t he,” Mr Wilshaw told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One.
Read the story here
DfE tells schools to carry on testing
Schools have been told to continue with plans to introduce regular Covid testing, despite being closed to most pupils during a new national lockdown.
Guidance from the Department for Education sent to schools late last night says the programme should continue to allow for weekly testing of staff and any close contacts of Covid cases who are attending school.
Secondary schools and colleges had been gearing up to deliver a massive testing programme from next week with millions of lateral flow test kits being sent out to schools this week.
Primary schools face wait to order laptops as lockdown begins
With the national lockdown about to officially start, primary school headteachers have been told they cannot order the laptops they need for remote learning from the Department for Education yet.
Head teacher Michael Tidd has revealed that when he and others tried to order the allocation their schools needed to deliver remote learning, a message from the DfE came up saying that, while secondaries can order extra devices, primaries will be contacted when they are able to place orders for theirs.
The NAHT school leaders union said "the government really has really let young people down miserably on this one".
More than 270,000 call for teachers to be prioritised for vaccine
More than 270,000 people have signed a petition calling for teachers to be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccine.
The petition, which has easily surpassed the 100,000 threshold for triggering a parliamentary debate, says there would be less chance of schools being closed if teachers and other school and childcare staff were prioritised for the vaccine.
The current priority list, drawn up on recommendations by the government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), contains nine groups including health and social care workers and individuals deemed clinically extremely vulnerable.
Read the story here.
DfE sets out its remote learning expectations for teachers
If school leaders were able to get to sleep before 11pm last night they may have missed this - but yesterday evening the DfE published its latest expectations of teachers during the lockdown.
The Department for Education has told schools what it expects them to deliver via remote learning, following Boris Johnson’s announcement of a new national lockdown which sees schools close to most pupils from today.
Where next for schools?
After an incendiary row over school openings, Boris Johnson finally made the announcement that so many had been waiting for: teaching will move online until February half-term.
And, in yet another u-turn that took many commentators by surprise, he said exams would not be taking place this summer.
But the prime minister's announcement left some major questions unanswered. What will replace exams? Where does the decision leave Sats? Was all that preparation for lateral flow testing in secondary schools just a huge waste of time?
Throughout the day we'll be trying to fill in as many gaps as possible and providing regular updates.
You can catch up on more of yesterday's news here.