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.
Why Boris Johnson mustn’t rewrite British history
In Parliament yesterday, while fumbling to explain why Britain’s Covid death rate has been so much higher than Germany’s or Italy’s, the prime minister fell back on an old historical trope, writes historian Peter Mandler. Britain, he said, was “a freedom-loving country, and if you look at the history of this country over the last 300 years, virtually every advance from free speech to democracy has come from this country.”
Quite apart from the question of how to calculate the trade-off between freedom and death, what was characteristic about this response was the way in which it drew on cherished stereotypes.
Inevitably, politicians take a special interest in the history curriculum. They feel it is their possession, in a way that they don’t with maths or German. That has baleful effects on how we learn history – it becomes a political history, to the gratification of politicians but the exclusion of so much else in human life.
Worse, it singles out one story to become the national story, thus ironing out all the glorious disagreement and diversity that characterises actual historical research by practising historians.
A global educational disaster is looming for 2021
The CEO of the Council of British International Schools, Colin Bell, argues that the 2021 exams series must reflect the impact on students around the world in international schools if their learning is blighted by different lockdown and remote reaching strategies.
However, at present exam boards and government have refused to acknowledge the issue, causing consternation among teachers parent and pupils around the world.
Read more here.
A 10pm pub curfew? That sounds rather nice to teachers
Far from the new 10pm pub closing time being a social constraint on teachers, I wonder if it might just encourage us to go out more, writes Stephen Petty.
That guaranteed earlier finish to a suggested night out might make more social engagements feel more feasible, on whichever day of the week it is.
There will be less cause for that knee-jerk “No thanks, better not” – less anxiety about having to leave any such gathering early or getting to bed too late, fewer fears of being too knackered or hungover to get through the following day. We can even think about getting back in time to finish off some school work, if that is what we really have to do sometimes.
What are the rules around student absence due to coronavirus?
Exactly who needs to self-isolate? Do you need to ask for proof of negative Covid-19 tests? And at what point should a school close as the result of confirmed cases?
Although there is plenty of guidance for schools on what to do about coronavirus, the rules around managing student absences are not always clear.
Grainne Hallahan, recruitment editor and senior content writer at Tes has put together a list of frequently-asked questions to help schools keep on top of when students should be taking time off, and when they should be in school.
You can read her guide here.
PM accused of being ‘out of touch’ over coronavirus testing
Prime minister Boris Johnson has been accused of failing to understand the reality of how difficult schools are finding it to access coronavirus tests.
In prime minister’s questions today, Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “The government's own department shows that one in eight children are off school this week. That disrupts their education, whether it's covid symptoms or other symptoms is nothing to the point - if the prime minister doesn't see that, he's really out of touch with families and what they're going through in school day in day out in the last few weeks.”
Sir Keir added that pupils being off school with Covid-like symptoms such as coughs and colds was “inevitable”, and that in some cases this had extended to whole year groups.
Teachers 'completely unsettled' by not knowing which pupils have Covid
Some schools are not telling teachers and teaching assistants which pupils have tested positive for Covid-19, according to public service union Unison.
And this is leaving school staff in the dark as to whether they need to get tested.
The union, along with the GMB and Unite unions, has now written to education secretary Gavin Williamson calling for school staff such as teaching assistants, technicians, catering workers, cleaning staff, caretakers and receptionists, to be a priority for testing like teachers.
Read the story here
Schools stay open - if everyone behaves
We must behave to avoid a full lockdown and keep schools open, an emphatic and stern-faced Boris Johnson warned in his latest pandemic address to the nation last night.
We can be certain that schools and teachers will be doing everything they can to keep the virus at bay and ensure they can continue to do their best to keep pupils learning. But many are calling for a review of some elements of government policy that goes against their efforts - such as Ofsted inspectors travelling between schools and diverting school leaders' away from prioritising pupil's safety and catch-up programs.
Meanwhile, the lack of access to testing is continuing to put schools under pressure, especially as some teachers are being told they are not key workers and are therefore not eligible for priority access to tests.
Some are wondering if the measures that emerged yesterday go far enough - especially after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said households in Scotland will be banned from mixing outside of workplaces and schools as part of efforts to keep classrooms open,
To catch-up with yesterday's developments click here. Stay tuned to today's blog for news as it breaks.