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: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org and Mary-Louise.Clews@tes.com.
How to look after your mental health for the rest of this term
The Covid crisis has taken so much of the joy out of life, and made the mundane and normal so much more complicated, writes Tara Porter.
When (if?) life returns to normal, perhaps we will feel grateful – although I hope that it will trigger a revolution of investment in what turns out to be the crucial infrastructure of the world.
So, reflecting on all that, and thinking about mental health, I have two pieces of advice for you this half term...
Ofsted should grade schools' online learning provision
Former schools minister Lord Andrew Adonis has said schools should be graded by Ofsted on the strength of their online provision for pupils during the pandemic.
"Ofsted should be grading all schools not just giving advice; it should be grading them by the quality of their online learning," he said, adding that the inspectorate should highlight best practice in schools for the provision of online learning at home, as well as naming the best schools in the country for remote learning.
He made the comments in a House of Lords debate on lifting the exemption of some Ofsted ‘outstanding’ schools from inspection. Elsewhere in the debate, Lord Storey, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for education in the Lords, said private schools should be inspected by Ofsted.
Another chance at science
Over 18,000 GCSE exams have been taken this autumn by students still unhappy with their results after last summer’s exam debacle – and this number doesn’t even include English and maths.
Science was by far the most popular subject, with almost 4,000 entries. In terms of schools, it seems that students at state comprehensive were the most keen to improve their grades, making up 60 per cent of the total entries.
Grammar and independent schools accounted instead for 2.5 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.
Read more here.
Teachers, take back control with these three areas of focus
There’s a lot going on in the world right now that we have little control over – from the pandemic to political turmoil.
But teachers can reclaim some control by focusing on what they can control in their working lives, perhaps mostly important around their subjects which are, after all, the reason they got into teaching in the first place, writes Emily Rawes, head of English at Shrewsbury International School Bangkok Riverside.
Read more here.
More money needed for poorer schools hit by Covid-19 ‘double blow’
A new report has found pupils in the poorest areas will have missed the most learning time as a result of the pandemic. The study from the Education Policy Institute found a strong correlation between areas of high disadvantage and school attendance levels.
In Scotland, attendance rates in October were lowest for the 20 per cent most deprived pupils (89 per cent school attendance) and highest among the 20 per cent least deprived (95 per cent school attendance).
"This is also highly unlikely to be a uniquely Scottish phenomenon, with evidence of similar problems emerging for England," the report says.
Heads say England’s 2021 exams could be in ‘jeopardy’
Headteachers have said the Welsh exams regulator’s proposal that GCSEs and AS levels be scrapped next year in Wales has thrown a “spotlight” onto whether a full series of exams can go ahead in England in 2021.
Following the proposal from Qualifications Wales, Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said it threw “the spotlight on plans in England where the government has so far said that exams will go ahead next summer.”
“It is now clear that the scale of ongoing disruption caused by Covid is so severe that the idea of a full exam series in England must be in jeopardy,” he added.
Heads on track and trace frontline - even in the holidays
School leaders rather than health agencies are expected to identify and call any close contacts of a Covid case in schools, according to a union official, who has warned that there have been no alternative arrangements in place for this half-term holiday.
James Bowen, the NAHT's director of policy, said he feared school leaders could end up being on call for 365 days a year because they had "inadvertently" become part of the country's system for isolating cases of the coronavirus.
Read more here.
GCSEs should not go ahead
Next summer’s timetabled GCSE examinations in Wales should be scrapped, with grades awarded based on coursework and common assessments, an exam regulator has recommended.
Qualifications Wales has said that students should continue to sit summer A-level exams as in previous years, but the testing regime for GCSE and AS-level students would be different.
Will Ofsted’s controversial school ‘visits’ now move online?
Yesterday Tes revealed that school leaders were calling on Ofsted to stop going into schools and to conduct its “visits” online, as Covid infections rose.
The inspectorate declined to comment. Then came another Tes exclusive that could change everything.
It is understood that a London primary has been forced to close for a week after an Ofsted inspector tested positive for Covid following a visit to the school.
Will Ofsted now have a rethink? Watch this space.
You can catch up on more of yesterday’s coronavirus related schools news and analysis here.