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.
No 10 tells schools they don’t need to close early for Christmas, despite rising Covid cases
It says that the changes to social restrictions over Christmas do not require any children to be taken out of school prematurely.
This statement comes amid mounting pressure on the Department for Education to allow schools to move to rotas and moves by both an academy trust and a council in the North of England to close school gates earlier than planned amid rising Covid cases and disruption
Council plans to close school doors early and move to remote learning
A North West council has told parents that schools will be closing and providing remote learning for the last two days of term to ensure pupils and families do not have to self isolate at Christmas.
Stockport Council has written to parents saying that schools in the area that were going to be open on 21 and 22 December will now provide home learning instead.
The letter said the council wanted to ensure that "as many children, young people and families as possible are able to enjoy a well-earned break without being asked to self isolate"
5 ways single teachers working abroad can make the best of the situation
Life as a single teacher abroad can be amazing - but during a pandemic the usual social scene has collapsed.
Kate Jones, head of history at The British School Al Khubairat in Abu Dhabi, offers some advice for teachers in this situation on making the best of things.
From making time to communicate with friends around the world to keeping active, she has a raft of great ideas.
Ministers told to help ‘dedicated and desperate teachers’
The education secretary was told today to take more action to help “dedicated” and “desperate” teachers battling the effects of the pandemic in schools.
Kate Green, shadow education secretary, told the House of Commons: "School leaders and staff are stressed and exhausted." "I support [Gavin Williamson] in wanting pupils to be safely in school but please will he tell our dedicated and desperate teachers, parents and support staff what he's going to do to support them and keep children learning?" she added.
Ms Green also said she was “disappointed” that Mr Williamson could not say how many pupils had been sent home from school for Covid-related reasons, stating that some pupils had been sent home up to five times.
'Coronavirus and lockdown showed the value of arts – let’s keep it that way'
Many of us turned to creative pursuits to keep ourselves busy during lockdowns around the world – from honing existing skills to learning new crafts.
Rebecca Findlay, the primary head at a large international school in Kuala Lumpur, saw this first hand from her husband and daughter.
She says the clear boost it gave them – and her young learners – shows that schools must ensure this boost from art becomes part of the norm in school life.
'Clear support' for industrial action over Covid safety in Scotland
A survey of nearly 19,000 teachers in Scotland has found "clear support for moving to industrial action" – including strike action – in areas worst affected by the coronavirus.
Fewer than a third of teachers feel safe from possible Covid infection in schools, the EIS union found, although almost two-thirds backed the Scottish government's aim of keeping schools open where possible.
EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said that many teachers "feel that the measures required to keep schools safe have not been delivered".
DfE claims MAT backed down over plans to finish term early amid rising Covid cases
The Department for Education has claimed that a multi academy trust that had planned to close early for Christmas has now rescinded the decision after pressure from the government.
However, Focus Trust has said that it is still "consulting internally" after the DfE asked it review its plans.
The trust, which runs 15 schools in the North of England, announced last week that it was to close its schools early after rising cases of Covid in the communities it serves.
The DfE said today that the trust had now informed it that this decision had been rescinded.
Teachers unimpressed by DfE remote learning help
If teachers could have graded the DfE on its remote learning advice during the first national lockdown, it would likely be bottom of the class, a poll suggests.
The Chartered College of Teaching poll shows two thirds of members found government guidance on remote learning during the first national lockdown "unhelpful".
And more than 80 per cent of teachers are dissatisfied with how the DfE listened to feedback on its Covid-19 response between February and July.Read the full story here.
Call for urgent investigation into claims that Covid teacher data is misleading
The issue of keeping schools fully open during the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be at the top of the agenda.
And now the National Education Union has called for an urgent investigation into claims that official government statistics used to demonstrate that teachers are not at higher risk of infection than those working in other sectors were “misleading”.
The claims are from an expert who has filed an official complaint to the UK statistics watchdog.
Read here for the full story.
Why virtual school tours could be here to stay post-pandemic
It’s been a lot harder for teachers and parents to visit schools they are considering working at or sending their children to – particularly internationally.
To get around this, many schools are operating virtual tours to show off their facilities and meet the staff. Julia Knight, vice-principal at Eton House School in Bahrain, says doing this has proved highly effective.
She believes that the mix of real insights it can offer, combined with the convenience of the viewing a school in this way, means this method of school tours should remain long into the future.
Will teachers be able to enjoy a family Christmas too?
It's the start of a week in which major decisions will be announced that will shape all our lives for the next few weeks or even months.
Boris Johnson is set to announce plans for allowing more families to mingle at Christmas. But this will be little help to teachers and pupils having to self-isolate over the holidays after catching the virus at school - and, with school pupils now the only age group with rising Covid rates, thousands have signed a petition calling for schools to move online.
Meanwhile, one academy trust serving areas of the North of England which have been hard hit by Covid-19 has already announced that its schools will be breaking for Christmas a week early to safeguard staff and pupils and “protect precious family time together”.
Another big announcement coming this week is the spending review, due on Wednesday. Will a public sector pay freeze be brought in to help recoup the recent Covid spending, as predicted? This would be the "final straw" for many teachers who've been working tirelessly throughout this pandemic, heads have warned.
You can read the rest of last week's developments here.