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 schools 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.
Majority of public want government to prioritise keeping schools open
The government may be facing calls to include schools in a circuit-breaker lockdown but a new poll has suggested there is widespread public support for keeping them open.
The YouGov poll finds that Britons rank schools as the top priority to remain open during a second national lockdown.
The results of a poll, published today by YouGov, show 57 per cent of people asked chose schools and nurseries as the sector they want prioritising for keeping open in the event of another lockdown.
This was followed by universities, while pubs came last in the list of the 10 types of establishments that YouGov asked about.
Streeting: Teachers have been 'bending over backwards' during Covid crisis
In his first interview since beginning his new role, Labour's shadow schools minister has spoken to Tes about Covid, school funding, next year's GCSEs and keeping schools open.
Wes Streeting was keen to express his admiration for teachers, praising them for "busting a gut" to support their pupils over the course of the pandemic.
But he also argued against the UK's biggest teaching union's calls for schools to close for two weeks as part of a national "circuit-breaker" lockdown.
Read the full story here.
Ministers told to pay for schools’ Covid costs
The government is facing calls to ensure schools are fully reimbursed for the additional costs of meeting Covid guidance this year.
This is part of the NAHT school leaders’ union’s submission to the upcoming comprehensive spending review being carried out by the government.
It also calls for teacher pay rises to be fully funded, for the SEND funding shortfall to be addressed and for billions to be given to schools in capital funding.
The union has already revealed that in the first few weeks of term, schools in England have spent an average of £8,017 on additional costs to minimise the risks of Covid-19 and have also lost on average £9,755 in income because of restrictions.
Heads union fear Covid cases could be going unreported
The DfE launched a Covid advice line last month after reports that schools were struggling to access expert health advice.
But today, Tes reveals that heads have concerns that problems with this hotline mean cases may be going unreported.
The Association of School and College Leaders has said that schools who had already called once had been told not to contact the advice line again as they “already know what to do”.
The school leaders union has also revealed that the department has not passed on information from the calls it receives about positive cases to local health protection teams (HPTs) or local authorities.
Teachers criticise DfE advert’s claims of small class sizes combating Covid-19
Teachers have criticised an advert from the Department for Education claiming that “smaller class sizes” are part of measures being used by schools to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Primary teacher Emma Cate tweeted: “Schools are doing as much as they can to protect staff and pupils but I do wish that the government wouldn't tell the public that we have 'smaller class sizes' because this just isn't true and it isn't something they have allowed.”
Schools are doing as much as they can to protect staff and pupils but I do wish that the Government wouldn't tell the public that we have 'smaller class sizes' because this just isn't true and it isn't something they have allowed. https://t.co/mrH2pEc9ml pic.twitter.com/RSvx9X2pop— Emma Cate (@emmccatt) October 19, 2020
Other teachers commented that they were teaching classes of up to 34 pupils.
Welsh secondaries partly shut during 'short, sharp' lockdown
Amid swirling debate in England over the merits of a "circuit breaker" spanning half term, Wales has announced it will go into lockdown from Friday until 9 November.
Primary schools will reopen after half-term but only Years 7 and 8 will return to secondary school.
The National Education Union Cymru has welcomed the so-called "fire break", and said teachers should use the time to create blended learning resources.
ASCL Cymru, which represents headteachers, called the move a "sensible balance".
Half-term is here – let’s celebrate what we have achieved getting to this point
Coronavirus has provided teachers with a first half of autumn term like no other.
So while half-term may be a chance to unwind and switch off (a bit) for a week, we should not overlook what we have achieved over the past few weeks either, says Niall Statham, head of physical education at Hartland International School in Dubai.
Read the full article here.
Why Covid isn't enough to halt decline of male teachers
The Covid-19 induced surge in applications for teacher training programmes is unlikely to increase gender diversity in the profession, research has suggested.
The proportion of male teachers in secondary schools in England has fallen continuously over the last decade – and now just over a third of the workforce are men, an Education Policy Institute report has found.
But the school workforce remains "heavily dominated by women", and applications from both men and women have risen during the pandemic, if finds.
Why aren't more men becoming teachers? Read the full story here.
Enjoy your break and let us keep you up to date
For many of the country’s schools today is the first day of the October half-term break.
So if you’re off, then congratulations – you’ve made it through what must have been one of the toughest ever starts to a school year.
If not, don’t worry you’re nearly there.
Some in education think this October’s break should be elongated. On Friday we reported how the NEU teaching union was calling for an "urgent circuit-breaker" to close secondary schools for two weeks to counter a rise in Covid infection among pupils.
And whether the schools are off or not, news about the pandemic and its impact on our education system will not stop. This blog is where you can come to learn about all the latest developments.
And you can catch up on more of last week’s coronavirus related schools news here.