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?
WATCH: Gavin Williamson's thank you message to schools
The education secretary has posted a new video message thanking school staff for their hard work over the course of the coronavirus crisis.
Gavin Williamson posted the message on Twitter, this evening, in which he told teachers and support staff that their work is "making a real difference". It follows a similar written message which he posted on social media a week ago.
He said: "Thank you to the staff, the teachers, the support staff who work in schools, those people who are making sure that nurseries are kept open, in colleges, those who are working in our universities, and of course social workers who are doing such an amazing job in terms of caring and protecting those who are most vulnerable in society.
"I recognise that we’ve all faced big challenges and the challenges ahead of us are great as well but your work and your support is making a real difference in terms of keeping people safe and saving lives.
"Thank you for all that you’ve been doing, and thank you for what you continue to do."
I want to directly thank everyone who is working to support children and young people during the fight to reduce the spread of Covid-19. pic.twitter.com/HE9b8U8QjV— Gavin Williamson (@GavinWilliamson) April 2, 2020
Call to include teachers in #ClapforCarers doorstep celebration takes off online
An academy leader's call for teachers to be included in doorstep tribute #clapforcarers from tonight has received growing support on social media.
Support for the call from principal and chief executive of North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College and chief executive of the Midland Academies Trust Marion Plant on social media to urge the public to say thank you to the education sector has grown throughout the day.
In her post, she said: "Tonight we will rightly applaud our amazing NHS and social care staff. My pan lids are ready for some more action. I shall also be applauding all those teachers and education support staff – right across the country – who have stepped forward to support the children and young adults of key workers and for those who are most vulnerable in our society."
She added their work was "quite literally a ‘lifeline’ to youngsters, many of whom find themselves in desperate situations". "Please join me in giving all these people a richly-deserved, big, shout-out tonight."
Read more here
EYFS children won't be assessed this year.....but the framework still holds
Reception age children in school should still be provided with a mix of learning and care set out in the EYFS framework during the coronavirus outbreak, according to new DfE guidance out today.
Although the national curriculum and the end-of-reception assessment, the EYFS Profile, has been cancelled, the framework still applies "in full".
Read the full story here.
School converted into coronavirus ward
Furness Academy in Barrow-in-Furness has been converted to provide respite beds for patients recovering from covd-19. In a letter to local newspaper The Mail, headteacher Simon Laherney said the school facility is "not a field hospital" but "will provide a suitable place where care can be administered to patients who are ‘on the road to recovery’ before they are discharged home" over the next few months.
In a Tweet, the Senco at the school Emma Elliot posted a photo of the conversion and said:
Academics and equality campaigners warn 'a generation will lose out' if GCSE and A level grading not adjusted for teacher bias
The racial equality think tank The Runnymede Trust has coordinated a letter with 20 education and equality experts sent to education secretary Gavin Williamson today urging him to ensure that GCSE and A level grades this year are not biased against disadvantaged pupils or those from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The letter, seen by Tes, points out that poorer pupils and those from BME (black and minority ethnic) backgrounds are more likely to receive lower predicted grades than their more advantaged peers, and calls on the education secretary to ensure schools and teachers have guidance about how to assign grades fairly.
Two weeks ago, the government announced the cancellation of all A level and GCSE exams, with “calculated” grades to be awarded to pupils based on teacher assessment and other data.
Read more, including the full letter, here.
Are teacher-assessed GCSE and A level grades a good idea?
The coronavirus outbreak means that teacher assessment for our main school qualifications is making a big comeback this summer.
Some are hoping that it will be back for good, spelling an end to the traditional all or nothing end-of-course exams revived by Michael Gove.
But what are the pros and cons of an approach to assessment that depends on teachers to make such high stakes judgements? Our own Tes exams expert Catherine Lough sifts the evidence in this excellent piece.
‘Zoombombing’ warning for schools
Teachers are being told to exercise “due diligence” following reports of online lessons being spammed with pornography, threats and hate speech.
The UK children's commissioner Anne Longfield has today issued guidance for teachers on what security settings are available on the app, and how best to use them.
The advice comes after the FBI has issued a warning to schools in the US over so-called "zoombombing", after an unidentified individual dialled into a virtual meeting at a Massachusetts high school, "yelled a profanity" and "shouted the teacher's home address".
And at a second school, an unidentified person displayed swastika tattoos after accessing a virtual classroom.
Read the full story here.
Schools start making PPE masks for the NHS
Around the country, schools are busy making protective face shields and masks for doctors and nurses working on the front line as they battle the coronavirus epidemic.
At Bishop’s Stortford High School in Hertfordshire, a design and technology teacher has made up to 200 face shields using 3-D printing equipment, while Monkton Combe School in Bath has printed masks for local hospitals (pictured).
Many schools have also donated stocks of science safety goggles to local hospitals to ensure healthcare workers are protected against Covid-19.
MPs increase pressure to give protection to frontline teachers
Another story that broke last night. Teachers putting themselves at risk during the coronavirus pandemic should be treated as a priority group for testing and personal protective equipment (PPE), the House of Commons education committee has urged.
In a letter sent to education secretary Gavin Williamson today, chair Robert Halfon said the committee was "concerned that teachers on the frontline may not have access to priority COVID-19 testing".
Full story here
Independent schools fear for the future as they cut fees
Private schools have reported they are “wrestling” over what fees to charge parents during the summer term in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Julie Robinson, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, has said that “sudden changes to operations caused by the pandemic have thrown normality to the wind”.
Ms Robinson said independent schools did not wish to pass on financial burdens to parents but were also "anxious about the future when so much remains uncertain".
"The schools we have spoken to expect to take losses, painful ones," she said.
Full story here.
Could the authorities do more to help frontline teachers?
Schools may be beginning to acclimatise to this strange new reality. But there are growing suggestions that there ought to be more official help for them.
Yesterday we reported a call for an 18 month respite from Ofsted inspections and there were warnings that schools had yet to receive the means to purchase food vouchers for vulnerable pupils they had been promised.
There were also demands for a refund of exam fees and most importantly a call for frontline teachers to get equipment to protect them from the virus “as a matter of urgency”.
Slightly more positively teachers could work knowing they had won the new found respect of Kim Kardashian West, while Angelina Jolie revealed she is to launch an online learning platform to educate children on the coronavirus outbreak.
You can catch up on yesterday’s events here.