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.
Thanks for the money - but it's not enough, say heads.
Extra funding to cover staff absence costs during the coronavirus pandemic will “not fully address the severe financial pressures on schools", headteachers have warned.
The extra funding announced by the Department for Education today will be “short-term” funding available to schools if they have used a set amount of their cash reserves and hit a government threshold for the number of teachers who are off work.
Read more here.
Schools' cash wish granted - partly
A new Covid workforce fund has been announced by the Department for Education to allow schools that face major staff shortages to apply for help with the extra costs they face during the current half-term.
The new “short-term” funding will only be available to schools if they have used a set amount of their cash reserves and hit a government threshold for the number of teachers who are off work.
Read more here.
Time to mask-up in classrooms says scientist group
Secondary school pupils should 'be encouraged' to wear masks in classrooms and schools be allowed to move to blended learning in areas with high Covid infection rates as part of urgent action to make them safe for pupils and staff, a group of scientists have said today.
The Independent Sage group has also called for Sats to be scrapped and exams to be replaced by teacher assessments next year.
Read more here.
Momentum builds behind plan to extend school Christmas holidays
Scotland's biggest teaching union has backed a proposal to expand the school Christmas holidays, although the Scottish government says no decision has been reached.
A document from local authorities' body Cosla shows indicates that this would involve all pupils in Scotland being out of school from 18 December and not returning to school until at least 11 January.
That entire time could become an extended holiday, or it could involve some blended learning.
DfE takes charge of school contingency plans
Earlier this week, Tes revealed that school rotas are to be banned under new plans for central government to take control of contingency measures for keeping children in education.
Now the news has been confirmed in new guidance from the DfE, which puts the department at the helm of school closure decisions.
Today's guidance replaces the DfE's four-tiered system for keeping schools open, introduced at the beginning of this academic year, which has remained largely unused.Read the full story here.
NEU calls for an investigation into a lack of teacher attendance data this term
The government is producing weekly data showing how Covid is impacting on schools including the numbers of pupils who are absent.
However the National Education Union is asking why it is not producing data for teachers attendance this term – when it did so in the last academic year.
The union joint general secretaries, Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, have asked the UK Statistics Authority to investigate what is stopping the department from producing this data.
Their call for an investigation follows comments from schools standards minister Nick Gibb, who said that the department was looking at the quality of its teacher attendance data with a view to publishing it.
Ofsted’s Covid visits ‘a model for the future’
Ofsted’s current system of online visits – in which inspectors are not coming to pass judgement on a school but are checking on how pupils are being supported during the pandemic – could be “a model” for the future.
That’s the view of shadow education secretary Kate Green who has also warned that a return of full Ofsted inspections in January could drive more teachers and school leaders out of the profession.
In an exclusive interview with Tes, she said: “It does worry me very greatly that the long-term impact in schools on children’s learning and on children’s and teachers' wellbeing is not going to be over as soon as we’ve got a vaccine.
And that’s why I think Ofsted should be thinking about how, when it does return into inspection mode, whether that inspection mode should look a bit different [with regards to] the high-stakes model, win or lose, that really drives schools to game the system and tick the boxes rather than to really make sure that they’re doing what they know to be in the best interests of their students’ learning.”
Read the full story here
The longer term impact of the Coronavirus crisis started to show yesterday, as government data analysis was published, and officials gave their view on the potential impact on schools.
Firstly, the DfE published data which revealed there was an uptick in GCSE three Rs grades this year when exams could not take place, compared to previous years.
Then we heard that the DfE's top official is lobbying the treasury to ensure they don't end up in a "position where funding is a reason schools have to close during the pandemic."
Catch-up with all of yesterday's developments here.