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?
Eton offers free online courses to state pupils
Eton College has offered courses from its online learning platform free of charge to state school pupils.
On Thursday, Simon Henderson, the headmaster of Eton, wrote to the heads of all UK state schools offering year 11 and 13 pupils free access to courses through EtonX, the school's online learning platform.
Courses on CV writing, creative problem solving, interview skills, resilience, research skills, making an impact and writing skills are available on the site.
Revise safeguarding policies in light of Covid-19, schools advised
The government has published new guidance on safeguarding during the coronavirus outbreak which advises schools to "review and revise" their policies to reflect new arrangements in response to Covid-19.
It said that policies should include how to "support children the school or college are concerned about who do not meet the ‘vulnerable’ definition".
And it said heads will be aware of who their most vulnerable pupils are and "have the flexibility to offer a place to those on the edges of receiving children’s social care support".
‘Let’s clap for teachers as well’
The latest edition of education’s favourite podcast has just gone live. Click below and you can hear the Tes team discussing whether teachers also deserve a national round of applause.
Tune in to listen to how teachers are bouncing back – and for all the latest on how the pandemic is affecting the profession.
Teachers share ways colleagues and pupils have kept spirits up in the first week of school closures
So here’s a little something from my school. We miss you all & we hope you’re keeping healthy, safe & well. As we’re all isolated in our individual homes we’ve made you a little music video with our families. We’re altogether-alone #coronavirus https://t.co/0Ob55dY8HQ— Mark Currell (@MCurrell42) March 27, 2020
Following a request to the Tes #twitterstaffroom community to share how schools, teachers and pupils have kept positive during the first week in quarantine, we've been amazed to witness the creativity and ingenuity that has been going on around the country following school closures.
From a video of the song ‘Perfect Day’ sung by staff at one primary school, to virtual art classes and banners of moral support, teachers have shown they will always rise to the challenge when it counts.
Some have indulged in the empty school corridors to recreate action film sequences a la Mission Impossible, while others have received beautiful artwork from pupils, such as the hand-sketched portrait of one teacher’s Dalmatian. Others have said how "heart-warming" it is to see exam classes in year 11 seeking revision tips to keep on top of their studies, in spite of GCSEs being cancelled this year.
How to prepare for a video interview and other tips for jobseekers during the pandemic
Teachers considering their career options during the coronavirus crisis should not assume everything is on hold, writes Recruitment Editor Grainne Hallahan, as she answers some of the key questions teachers may have during this period of huge uncertainty.
Read the article here.
School science labs providing goggles and gloves for NHS staff
Some schools are packing up equipment from their science labs such as goggles, masks and gloves and sending then to the NHS to help meet the shortfall in PPE (personal protective equipment).
However, it’s being advised that schools should not approach individual hospitals or NHS staff, but to wait for donations to be requested.
Read the story here
‘Keep class sizes down to avoid spread of virus’
Scientists are warning that schools remaining partially-open for vulnerable children and those of key workers may inadvertently be spreading the Covid-19 virus.
That’s unless pupils are kept in groups of “minimal size”.
A team from the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also warns that frequent movements between classes and groups should be avoided.
Read the story here.
Focus on what is possible
The idea teachers can recreate a normal school day for the millions of students being educated at home is unreasonable, writes the NEU’s general secretary Mary Bousted for Tes in a plea to the teaching profession – it's time schools focused on what is possible.
Pupils need just 3 hours work per day while schools are closed, say teachers
"A maximum of two to three hours of “work” per day is plenty and will keep minds active but enthusiastic," the guidance says.
The union also said teachers should not “live-stream” lessons apart from under exceptional circumstances with the parent present.
In specific guidance for primary staff, the union added: "Online lessons are not desirable for primary children as the teacher-pupil interaction is not easily replicated".
Shadow education secretary self-isolating with suspected coronavirus
In the same morning that prime minister Boris Johnson announced he has tested positive for Covid-19, shadow education secretary Angela Rayner has said she is in quarantine after developing symptoms.
The Labour deputy leadership candidate posted on Twitter: "I am now in self isolation as I have the symptoms of coronavirus – they started last night and have gradually got worse.
"I will be a bit quieter than usual but will still be keeping in touch with people as best as I can."
She urged her followers to "keep safe" and reiterated the government message to "stay home, save lives".
Read the full story here.
Unions move to protect teachers and school staff working amidst pandemic
Teachers unions last night issued joint guidance designed to protect their members after a week in which schools and teachers nationwide have been adapting to what government behaviour Tsar Tom Bennett described as "our Brave New World" since schools closed amidst the covd-19 outbreak.
The NEU, ASCL and NAHT unions called on schools to operate rotas to give teachers enough time off to protect health, and to stop teachers ending up being asked to do non childcare tasks like cleaning and changing displays to keep them busy.
The guidance also calls on an end to teachers being expected to home-educate children, and says scrutiny and performance management of teaching is not appropriate at this time.
Week one since schools closed almost over - how has it gone?
Morning. As the final day of the first week of school closures draws to a close, what have we learned? What has gone well and how can we improve on for next week and beyond?
Nationally, the teaching and school leaders unions have joined together to create a safety blueprint of measures they are calling on government and leaders to observe to ensure their members stay as safe as possible while providing childcare for the nation's key workers and vulnerable pupils.
The union guidance was issued after Tes learned that some schools were asking teachers to clean and refresh displays as there wasn't enough childcare or teaching work for them to do.
Catch-up with all the developments impacting schools amidst the coronavirus outbreak so far here.