Welcome to the Tes coronavirus liveblog. The outbreak of Covid-19 is an uncertain time for everyone, but schools and teachers are facing unprecedented disruption with schools now closed and exams cancelled.
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?
Create 'catch-up premium' for poorer pupils,’ says leading Tory
The chairman of the Commons education select committee has said a “catch-up premium” should be created for disadvantaged pupils when schools reopen.
Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow, said vulnerable pupils were “adversely affected” by school closures and that warned that this might “sap their progress” in comparison with their more advantaged peers while coronavirus lockdown measures continued.
Mr Halfon also raised concerns over poorer pupils having less internet access during the lockdown, which made it difficult for them to learn remotely, citing one school in his constituency where 8 per cent of pupils had no access to the internet.
Schools' frustration over free meal vouchers grows
School business leaders and headteachers have raised concerns over delays to the government’s online free school meal voucher system, after the supplier’s website was taken down over the weekend and continued to experience issues this morning.
A spokesperson for the Department for Education had previously said that while the site, Edenred, would be taken offline over the bank holiday weekend for an upgrade, but would be back online “immediately” after the weekend. However, many school business managers reported issues with the site this morning, with one saying they had had to signpost families to local food banks as an alternative source of help.
Some said they had spent hours on the site today attempting to get pending orders approved, with one manager reporting she had spent forty minutes looking at a “whirring screen” on the site.
And things don't seem to have got much better since our story first went up:
Teachers set up gift exchange to spread positivity
As schools contend with another week of lockdown, teachers seeking to raise spirits have been posting “wishlists” on Twitter as part of a gift-giving scheme.
Many teachers' lists feature typical classroom essentials, such as stationery, study guides and children's books.
But others venture further afield with more wacky suggestions, including a water fountain for cats; a faux sheepskin rug; toothbrush heads; sweet chilli dipping sauce; and a Himalayan crystal rock salt lamp.
Sharing their lists on Twitter, some teachers described the trend as "amazing".
But others suggested it would be better for people to support foodbanks, or buy pens and pencils for pupils who have none.
Read the full story here.
Revamp of famous sketch to show struggles of remote teaching
Comedian Catherine Tate will reprise her role as truculent schoolgirl Lauren – famous for the catchphrase “Am I bovvered?” – in a sketch illustrating the difficulties of remote teaching over video-link.
David Tennant, who previously played Lauren’s exasperated English teacher in a sketch for Comic Relief, will play her teacher, struggling to give remote lessons during the coronavirus lockdown.
"We're all into the home schooling thing at the moment (under lockdown) so Catherine Tate's school pupil will be taught by David Tennant over video-calling. Who knows what that's going to look like?" Mr Baker said.
The sketch will air as part of The Big Night In on BBC One - on Thursday April 23 at 7pm - hosted by Matt Baker, Sir Lenny Henry and Davina McCall.
‘End speculation over schools reopening’, prime minister told
Teachers’ leaders have called for an end to “disturbing” speculation over the reopening of schools, in a letter to the prime minister today.
The letter, sent by the NEU teaching union’s joint general secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, calls on the government to share modelling of the increased risks of reopening schools in advance of any proposals to end school closures.
The letter condemned “media speculation” over reopening schools, “seemingly stimulated by unnamed government ministers” and said it could “undermine people’s resolve to stick to social isolation”.
Full story here
Teacher assessments 'should be kept beyond 2020'
The government has already cancelled GCSE and A-level exams for 2020 and replaced them with teacher assessments.
But the new general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, Patrick Roach, thinks teacher assessments should stay beyond this academic year.
This, he says, would prevent children's education from being as "severely disrupted" as it has been this year, in the event of another pandemic, or a further bout of coronavirus.
Full story here.
England must 'flatten the curve' before schools can re-open
Despite feverish speculation over the Easter weekend that schools could be re-opening at some point next term, the government is yet to confirm any plans.
Asked about schools at yesterday's press briefing, foreign secretary Dominic Raab simply reiterated the need to first "flatten the curve".
With the current lockdown unlikely to be lifted before 7 May, teachers and schools look set to continue as they are for the short-term.
We will bring you all the updates as they happen, and you can catch up on the weekend's developments here.