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.
Covid case hotline for schools is launched
There has been a major development today for schools on the coronavirus frontline today with the creation of a new Department for Education advice hotline.
From tomorrow schools can use this to get advice on what to do next when they get a pupil or member of staff test positive for the virus.
It follows a letter from school leaders and governors to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning him that schools had been unable to get timely advice from local public health teams and were being forced to make decisions themselves about who should be asked to self isolate after positive test results came back.
Prime Minister urged to take charge of situation facing schools
If it wasn’t already, the crisis facing schools during the Covid-19 is now in the Prime Minister’s in tray.
School leaders unions the NAHT and the ASCL have joined forces with the National Governance Association to write to Boris Johnson urging him to take personal control of the situation.
Their letter warns that a lack of Covid-19 test means staffing of schools is not sustainable and it also says that schools have been put in the impossible position of having to make public health decisions themselves about what to do in the event of a positive case of the coronavirus because they cannot access timely advice.
Williamson does not give a guarantee of Covid tests for schools within 48 hours
Covid testing and the lack of it was unsurprisingly at the top of the agenda this morning when education secretary Gavin Williamson appeared before MPs at the Commons Education committee.
Committee chair Robert Halfon asked Mr Williamson if he could guarantee that, where there is a suspected outbreak among staff or pupils, that they could be tested within 48 hours without having to "drive long distances".
In response, Mr Williamson did not give this guarantee but pointed out that schools have been sent home-testing kits and could order more from today.
Covid-19 pushes back publication of the government’s SEND review
The impact of the coronavirus is being felt far and wide across the education sector.
Today it was revealed that the government’s long awaited SEND review, commissioned by the government amid mounting problems in the sector will now not be published until next year.
When Commons education committee chairman Robert Halfon asked why it was taking so long, he was told that this was down to Covid-19.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said this morning that an "awful lot of the Department for Education's resource" had been taken up by the crisis but that they were working “full tilt” to have the review published at the earliest possible opportunity.
Public buildings could be used as exam centres in 2021
Gavin Williamson suggested today that public buildings could be used to ensure socially distanced GCSE and A level exams in 2021.
Answering questions from the Commons’ education select committee, the secretary of state said public buildings could be used in 2021 to create additional space for socially distanced exams, while pupils unable to sit an exam on a set date for Covid-related reasons might need a “reserve” set of papers.
"We are also planning for the fact that there may need to be a different approach in terms of creating extra capacity within schools and a wider use of public buildings for exams centres, if that is required and that is needed in local communities as a result of further social distancing," he said.
Schools scramble for Covid tests as situation spirals ‘out of control’
Now the lack of Covid tests available to schools is spiralling “out of control”, according to the NASUWT teaching union.
In a letter to the schools minister, NASUWT leader Patrick Roach said the union had heard of approximately 600 pupils being told to self-isolate in one local authority area, and the “number is growing”.
He also warned that the delays in testing have meant some students and staff who are part of a “bubble” within a school are not being isolated even where there are multiple suspected cases.
Read the full story here.
Two weeks into the term, and we all need a break already
The Chartered College of Teaching has warned the Department for Education that the profession is showing worrying exhaustion and stress already this early in the term.
Could this have something to do with lack of available Covid testing options, uncertainty about next year’s exams, staff and pupil absences and having to deal with parents’ concerns?
These were all issues the college raised at a stakeholders meeting with DfE officials – and it reported that all the profession’s concerns have been listened to.
Read more here.
Williamson examined over exams
Gavin Williamson faces his own test today as his appears before the Commons education select committee just as concern over the lack of testing that is handicapping schools reaches fever pitch.
The education secretary can also expect a grilling about his role in this summer’s exam grading fiasco, and the government’s handling of the return of pupils to schools and its response to the lockdown learning loss.
Mr Williamson will be accompanied by Susan Acland-Hood, who will be making her first appearance as the Department for Education’s new permanent secretary.
You can catch up on yesterday’s coronavirus related news here.