The Easter holidays have been dominated by news from teacher conferences so far: the NASUWT over the long weekend, and the largest NEU annual get-together (on Zoom this year) kicked off the latter half of the week. The NASUWT's call for masks guidance to continue into the new term appeared to be heard and acted upon: on Tuesday the Department for Education announced that secondary school students and staff would still be advised to wear face coverings in schools after the break.
On Tuesday, Tes uncovered documents that show the government's budget for school Covid catch-up resources – including sequenced lessons, formative assessment and workbooks – has more than trebled. An updated procurement notice from the DfE, published at the beginning of this month and seen by Tes, shows that the value of the contract to provide "in-class curriculum resources" has increased significantly since it was first advertised in February, from £3.9 million to a maximum of £15 million.
Speaking of government funding, the Tes news team covered the DfE’s unveiling of the first 22 lead schools for its new £10 million behaviour hub programme on Wednesday. The named high-performing schools and multi-academy trusts will work to help drive improvement with schools struggling with poor discipline via peer mentoring, training and support. Launching the scheme, education secretary Gavin Williamson said the DfE will also consult on "how we can help heads remove phones from the school day". He said: “I firmly believe that mobile phones should not be used or seen during the school day, and will be backing headteachers who implement such policies."
Back at the union conferences, teachers voted to campaign for the scrapping of Ofsted, and backed the NEU union to push for a 7 per cent pay rise in 2021 with the threat of industrial action on the cards if its demands are not met. The NEU released a survey on Thursday showing that more than a third of teachers are "confident" they will not be working in education in five years’ time. Many schools will be hoping the Covid recruitment boost to the teaching profession will counterbalance the ongoing retention struggle, after Ucas released figures revealing that teacher training applications surged by 17 per cent in 2020.
As part of our ongoing coverage of the pupil premium funding row, the Tes news team exclusively revealed that three major academy trusts estimate that upwards of 1,500 disadvantaged pupils at their schools are set to lose out as a result of what has been called a "stealth" cut to government funding.
You can find all of these stories and much more coverage of news that matters to teachers and schools here.
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