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At a recent teachers’ conference in Birmingham, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that school closures would create widespread disruption, not least for key workers such as medical staff, and that children were probably safer at school. Leaders of Primary and Secondary schools agreed, believing it was best to try and keep a normal schedule amidst the coronavirus outbreak. However staff sickness has put pressure on schools, and from today, schools will now shut their doors to most students. Only children whose parents are considered to be key workers or those classified as vulnerable will be allowed to remain at school. However, there is much confusion about the definition of ‘key worker’ and teachers have expressed concern that this could be open to misinterpretation. Teachers are also concerned they have had little time to prepare for early closure, amidst confusing government messages.  Williamson says that an altered exam schedule will now be used, as A-Levels and GCSEs are now postponed. It has not been decided if grades will still be released in August. “We don’t know how the spread of the virus will affect the examining boards and those who issue the grades” he explains. An alternative route has been proposed by Universities UK chief executive Alistair Jarvis. For those going into post-secondary education, Jarvis suggests giving awards based on former assignments and teacher evaluations, thereby allowing the placement process to go ahead as scheduled.

Family Kids & Youth LLP
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Family Kids & Youth – what we are doing during Coronavirus lockdown

We are continuing to carry out our UK and international research with children, teens and parents but have switched all this online and to our apps. Our qualitative research is filmed and our mini groups, depth interviews and focus groups are proving to be a great success. Children and young people are totally at home speaking online and are extremely vocal, even on the most sensitive of topics. Parents are appreciating the ‘group effect’ of online video conferencing.

Our resourceful team at FK&Y has been home-based since Monday 16 March and our regular catch-ups on Microsoft Teams ensure we all know what each other is doing! We’d like to thank our clients, our suppliers and of course our research participants for being so encouraging and so supportive.

We have compiled lists of organisations that offer help on home-schooling, child behaviour, and anxiety and mental health. Please contact me if you wish to receive this list.

Wishing all our clients, colleagues and friends our very best wishes! Dr Barbie.

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