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?
Campaign to scrap new baseline assessment in September gathers pace
The UK's largest education union has thrown its weight behind a campaign to ditch the new Reception baseline assessment amid "unprecedented disruption" caused by the coronavirus crisis.
The NEU teaching union has signed an open letter to schools minister Nick Gibb, calling for the "immediate cancellation" of plans to introduce the assessment, as it would be an "additional and needless burden in the new school year".
The news comes after Beatrice Merrick, chief executive of the Early Education charity, told Tes that implementing the Reception baseline assessment (RBA) in September would "make life impossible for everybody".
Read the full story here.
Ofqual reveals u-turn on Year 10 grades due to demand from teachers and parents
The exams regulator has said it now thinks GCSE candidates in year 10 or below should now be able to receive grades this summer.
Ofqual had previously said calculated grades would only be awarded to year 11 students.
The change in plan was revealed today as the regulator began a consultation into its awarding of exam grades today.
Read the full story here.
How to maintain social relationships while teaching remotely
The Covid-19 pandemic has required students to be taught at home using distance-learning techniques. But in the scramble to deliver academic content, are we in danger of forgetting about the social side of education?
Retired headteacher Tim Hawkes offers his advice for how teachers can maintain the social elements of school while delivering distance education.
His suggestions include establishing a regular routine, facilitating peer-to-peer interaction and making time for fun, as well as learning.
We aren’t reopening schools in Wales, says minister
The Welsh education minister has said there are no plans to reopen schools in Wales before the end of the summer term.
Kirsty Williams added that when schools did reopen, social distancing measures meant that it still would not be “business as usual” in schools.
She said: "Schools in Wales will not open for statutory education next week, and a change to that is not imminent.
"It will only happen when the science and medical evidence say it is safe to do so."
Why art tasks are perfect for lockdown learning
Art tasks make ideal home learning activities that can work across subjects, says primary teacher Sally Kawagoe in an article for Tes.
Capitalising on children’s love of art when setting work remotely allows you to inspire creativity and to reinforce curriculum learning, without it feeling like learning – something that home-school-weary children and parents will thank you for, she says.
Kawagoe also shares ideas for art activities in different primary subjects that are suitable for remote learning, including using Rothko paintings to estimate fractions and using mindful colouring to hone the fine motor skills needed for handwriting.
Education’s own Cilla Black helps lonely teachers find love
It’s been a bleak few weeks of lockdown, but a history teacher turned matchmaker has succeeded in raising spirits after stepping in to help his peers find their perfect partners.
Dubbed education's own Cilla Black, Tom Rogers has used the power of social media to organise hundreds of "edudates" as part of a unique "online speed dating day for teachers".
Potential suitors have been excitedly sharing their stories on Twitter using the hashtag #edudates, with one teacher saying she’d put on her "posh perfume" especially for the occasion – despite the fact all dates are taking place over video call. She added: "Ah well, I smell GOOD".
Roughly 150 teachers have signed up for the event, during which they will each have up to 10 dates at 10 minutes apiece.
Mr Rogers explained that all participants have been anonymised, so the meetings stay as true as possible to a blind date scenario.
Asked why he decided to set up the speed dating event, he told Tes: "There's just so many single teachers. I've tweeted a few times about lonely teachers, and it's got such a massive response.
"I just thought: 'I'm in lockdown, I don't have much to do, I'm living in a hotel, why not just do this?'"
Read the full story here.
UK plan unclear as pupils return to school overseas
As speculation increases on a return date for UK schools, other countries in the process of lifting lockdown measures are prioritising education – with teachers among the first to return to some degree of normality.
Today, Denmark was the first country in Europe to reopen school gates – albeit only for children under the age of 11.
Meanwhile, Norway is set to partially reopen schools at the end of the month, with the intention that all students, in one way or another, should be able to return before the summer.
It has also been reported that Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel is considering plans to reopen the nation’s primary schools – but with restrictions on class sizes, and a requirement for all children to wear face masks.
In the UK, the debate over closures rages on. This morning, Labour leader Kier Starmer said reopening schools should be one of the first things to happen in the UK decides to lift lockdown measures.
He said he was worried about the impact that closures were having on more disadvantaged children, who have limited access to home-schooling.
However, the NEU teaching union wrote to the prime minister yesterday demanding an end to "disturbing" speculation about schools reopening. It also called for the government to share its modelling of how many pupils, staff, parents and carers are expected to contract or die from coronavirus.
Tributes paid to hugely popular maths teacher
A hugely popular maths teacher in Greenock is thought to be the first teacher in Scotland to die after contracting coronavirus.
Gerry McHugh, of Notre Dame High School, died on Saturday afternoon, aged 58. Both School Leaders Scotland and the EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union, said it appeared to be the first such case in Scotland.
Unable to mark Mr McHugh’s passing in the usual ways, staff and students instead wore red – he was a Manchester United fan – and shared memories using the hashtag #redforgerry.
Reopen schools first when lockdown ends, says Keir Starmer
Labour leader Keir Starmer has said schools should be one of the first places to reopen at the end of any coronavirus lockdown, as he expressed concern over the impact school closures will have on disadvantaged pupils.
“One of the concerns I have is that the longer the schools are shut the bigger the inequality between those children that are getting pretty good home schooling because they have got the resources and the backing to do it and those that aren’t because perhaps they are in very overcrowded accommodation,” he said, speaking on the BBC’s Today programme.
He added that the government needed to outline any strategy around reopening schools so that it could be discussed and checked.
The 'utter shambles' of school meal vouchers
The grim financial forecast released yesterday - with the OBR warning that the economy could shrink by 35 per cent - has intensified discussions over when the lockdown will end, and when children will return to school.
Teachers and school staff don't want speculation. They want and need support in dealing with the very real problems facing them, and their communities, now.
For example, how will the government ensure that its free school meals voucher scheme - described as an "utter shambles" - is fixed, ending a "frustrating" situation that has left schools having to point parents to food banks?
The DfE is also coming under pressure over guidance that could deny extra lockdown free meals funding to schools with financial reserves.
We will continue to ask vital questions and provide teachers with useful updates. You can catch up on yesterday's developments here.