Welcome to the Tes coronavirus liveblog. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is causing uncertainties for everyone.
Schools have faced unprecedented disruption, and are now gearing up reopen classrooms which have been closed to all but the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils since the start of term.
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 and 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:
Scottish heads blindsided by 'shock' school return
Scotland’s secondary headteachers' organisation says it was given “no hint” that a return of all pupils to school buildings from 15 March was about to be announced.
On Tuesday first minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed that the second phase of the return to school in Scotland, due to take place from 15 March, would now involve all pupils being in school buildings for at least some of the week.
That came as a "shock" to School Leaders Scotland.
Read the full story here.
International pupils attending boarding schools in England will be allowed to self-isolate at their school rather than in a hotel following pressure from parents and headteachers.
Children arriving from countries on the government’s red list to return to school in England will not have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days, according to Department for Education (DfE) guidance.
DfE incapable of responding to national crisis, says former permanent secretary
A former permanent secretary at the Department for Education has said it is not capable of responding to a national crisis in the same way as the NHS, comparing the struggle to roll out laptops provision to students on time with the success of the vaccination programme.
Jonathan Slater, who was the DfE's top official until his August sacking over the exams grading crisis, said: “The current system is not capable of managing a school system as well as it needs to in a crisis.
An obvious answer to the question 'Why's the NHS been so good at rolling out a vaccine programme', is it is a national health service, it’s been doing it for 75 years.
"The school system is not set up to manage a national crisis, getting a million laptops very quickly into children’s homes, and so how one organises the school system is secondary to the question about what it’s there for…but the current system is a bit of a mess."
Mr Slater added that he had sympathy for arguments made by former education policy adviser Sam Freedman that the DfE was trying to do too much at once.
Read more here.
Teachers say they lack tech to close learning gap
Nearly a year since schools in England first closed due to the Covid crisis, remote learning has become an integral part of our education system.
But a new survey from edtech supplier RM suggests half of teachers don't believe they have the "right technology" to close the learning gap created by the pandemic.
And a similar proportion (51 per cent) say they need a greater understanding of tech to achieve better learning outcomes for their pupils.
Read the full story here.
Teachers 'need support to handle pupil lockdown trauma'
The government must "turbo-charge" plans for mental health support for children in schools and ensure that wellbeing checks are at the heart of its Covid-19 catch-up plans, the NSPCC is warning.
The children's charity says schools and teachers must be properly equipped to recognise and respond sensitively to children who have had traumatic experiences in lockdown when they return to the class.
You can read more here.
Teachers have ‘excess’ Covid risk during lockdown
Teachers have had a “little bit higher risk” of infection with Covid-19 during the national lockdown, latests figures suggest.
New data shows that education and childcare staff appear to have had an increased risk of infection during the lockdown compared with people who do not work in these professions.
Professor Paul Elliott, director of the React programme and chair of epidemiology and public health medicine at Imperial College London, said: “Teachers are at a bit of excess risk – it’s not just teachers, it’s people working in education, childcare, nursery.
“They’re at a little bit higher risk of infection than people who don’t work in that group of jobs in our data."
You can read more here.
Budget a 'missed opportunity' to help schools
There had been no hint that help was on its way before yesterday’s much trailed Budget speech, so it was perhaps no surprise that there was nothing for schools.
But the news, or rather the absence of it, has left heads disappointed.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Education was scarcely mentioned despite the government’s insistence that it is a national priority. This Budget was a missed opportunity to back up warm words with a concrete spending plan.”
Teaching unions had called for chancellor Rishi Sunak to prioritise school funding in the Budget, with a long-term plan for Covid catch-up and more cash for free school meals and to cover Covid costs.
But there were no such commitments were made by the Treasury yesterday.
You can catch up on more of yesterday’s coronavirus related schools news here.