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?
DfE urged to build national edtech hub for England
England needs a new "educator-designed and led" platform to bring its edtech offer in line with the rest of the UK, according to a new report.
Experts are urging the DfE to forge a national resource to support schools "at times of extraordinary upheaval".
England is currently the only nation in the UK without a national edtech hub. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland each have their own free-to-use platforms, which provide resources to support the use of digital technology in schools.
The move would also prevent teachers being "inundated with product offers" that have not been fully assessed by professionals "with respect to their educational value and/or security", the report states.
Read the full story here.
AS levels to be awarded in Northern Ireland
Northern Irish students working towards their AS levels will receive calculated grades this year – but these will not count towards their final A level results, the education minister has announced.
Instead, next summer A level students can choose to only sit the required A2 units, or both AS and A2 units.
Those due to sit their A levels and GCSEs this year will also receive calculated grades.
Speaking in the Northern Ireland Assembly today, Peter Weir said his decision followed consultation across the education sector.
"My priority is to ensure that pupils receive fair results that reflect their hard work and enable judgments to be made about their future progression to study or employment or other avenues," he said.
"This is a very complex process and there is still more work to be completed, however, it is vital that pupils and their families receive some clarity on this issue."
MPs dish out criticism over free school meal 'failings'
The government’s free school meal voucher system is proving a recipe for disaster, according to seventy MPs who have written to the education secretary Gavin Williamson about its “failings”.
Siobhain McDonagh, the Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, sent the letter, which calls on Mr Williamson to address the failings and points out that a third of schools remain unregistered. It also asks why more expensive supermarkets such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer are included in the vouchers, whereas cheaper retailers such as Lidl and Aldi are not.
Read the story here
Ignoring the rules and asking pupils to attend mocks 'beggars belief'
Teachers’ leaders have reacted to “disturbing” reports that some schools are asking pupils to travel to school during the coronavirus lockdown to complete mock exams and other assessments.
Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, said "beggars belief" that some schools were asking pupils to come in to sit assessments when schools are closed.
The news follows reports last night that Ofqual will give calculated grades to candidates in year 10 and below this summer, after previously stating only year 11 would receive grades.
Shadow education secretary joins 2,500 others calling on DfE to ditch baseline
Several more prominent MPs have now added their voices to a campaign urging the government to scrap the new Reception baseline assessment.
Shadow education secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, shadow early years minister Tulip Siddiq and Lid Dem education spokesperson Layla Moran are among 2,500 signatories of 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".
Green Party MP and former leader Caroline Lucas, British Educational Research Association (BERA) president Dominic Wyse and academics Guy Holmes-Roberts and Alice Bradbury have also added their names to the letter.
Yesterday, the UK's largest education union the NEU threw its weight behind the campaign, calling on the DfE to "urgently" reconsider its plans.
The letter argues that introducing the RBA in the autumn would be a "huge distraction" to teachers at a time when their "main focus" should be on building relationships and helping children to catch up on missed learning opportunities.
The Department for Education said it intends for the assessment to go ahead as planned, although this will be kept under review in light of the coronavirus crisis.
Primary teachers’ fears over schools reopening
Primary school staff have raised concerns that they will not be adequately protected from Covid-19 if they are asked to return to work early.
Maddie Ross, 24, a teacher at a primary school in Wolverhampton, said there was “no way” to get primary schoolchildren to practise social distancing by remaining two metres apart from one another, and another primary head said social distancing was “pretty much impossible” for young children.
The NEU teaching union has written to prime minister Boris Johnson asking for the government to urgently share its modelling over plans to reopen schools.
Phased re-opening of schools mooted
The question of when schools will reopen continues to preoccupy political and policy leaders.
Following Keir Starmer's call for schools to be among the first to reopen yesterday, The Times reports today that the government is considering a phased re-opening or primary schools and nurseries, taking a regionalised approach.
Read more here.
GCSE and A level results released in August, say DfE
Amidst the flurry of changes to GCSE and A Level assessment and grading due to the 'exceptional' circumstances caused by the coronavirus this year, The Department for Education has confirmed that GCSE and A level results will be released in August on the pre-outbreak planned dates of 20th and 13th respectively.
School standards minister Nick Gibb said: "I want to thank all those who are helping to make this happen despite the challenges we are facing."
However, results will not be released earlier than August, as previously suggested.
How this year’s ‘exceptional’ GCSEs and A levels will work
Yesterday saw the debate on school re-openings in England intensify as Labour leader Keir Starmer said they should be prioritised, and differing approaches in other countries emerged.
On the day that Denmark became the first European country to reopen them, the education minister in Wales, Kirsty Williams, said no change there was imminent.
In England there was more definite news on grading for GCSEs and A-levels as Ofqual published a dense 67 page consultation document on this summer’s “exceptional arrangements”.
The plans will also mean that any ethnic, gender or social bias in the teacher assessed grades will only be picked up by Ofqual if it skews an entire school's results, and that there will be no right to appeal against teachers' professional grading judgements.
You can catch up on all yesterday’s events here.