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Mixed uptake as primary schools and nurseries re-open in England

Primary schools in England returned this week, but levels of attendance are ranging from 40% to 70% as some schools remain closed and many parents are choosing not to send their children back. This was reflected in a survey from the National Foundation for Educational Research that suggested almost 50% of children would be kept at home by parents. The situation in primary schools is very mixed across the country as some local authorities are…
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UK study reveals inequalities between parents during lockdown

A study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) and the UCL Institute of Education has found that mothers are one and half times more likely to have left or lost their job or been furloughed than fathers. The research focused on opposite-gender, dual-parent households with dependent children in England, using data collected since the end of April. It found that amongst parents who are no longer in paid work, 16% of mothers have lost…
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Youth organisations call for recovery plan for young people’s mental health

Thirty organisations have written to the prime minister calling for a five-point recovery plan to help reduce the long-term impact of coronavirus on the mental health of young people – “both now and in the future”.  The letter is signed by Young Minds, Barnardo’s, Place2Be and Beat, as well as teacher unions and medical groups such as the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. It calls for a…
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Teacher unions concerned about “lack of understanding” of coronavirus

Nine unions, including the National Education Union and the National Association of Headteachers, who represent hundreds of thousands of education practitioners in the UK have warned that the government has a “lack of understanding” about the dangers of coronavirus spreading within the school setting and wider community. School leaders believe that 1st June is too early for schools to re-open and have urged the government to step back from plans, saying that they were not consulted…
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Teacher unions warn leaders not to open schools too early

Teacher unions in the UK and Ireland have warned leaders of a “very real risk of creating a spike in the transmission of the virus by a premature opening of schools”. A letter, sent by the British and Irish Group of Teacher Unions (BIGTU) to education ministers in all five nations on behalf of almost 1 million teachers and education staff, calls for test and trace measures to be fully operational before reopening. It also called for “significant…
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Children’s Commissioner warns of surge in child protection referrals once schools reopen

Local authorities are anticipating a surge in the number of child protection referrals when schools reopen in the UK. Such referrals have decreased by more than 50 percent in some areas of England, as many vulnerable children are not in contact with teachers or youth workers and abuse and neglect goes unnoticed at home. More than 1.5 million children in England live in families where one parent or carer has a severe mental health problem,…
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Schools in Denmark and China return to a new normal

Schools in Denmark and China have reopened, but day-to-day school life is remarkably different as the threat of COVID19 still remains. In Denmark, class times and breaks are being staggered to avoid too many people in one place, and class sizes have been reduced by splitting into two groups. Pupils are also being taught in a more traditional way such as sitting separately in front of the teacher rather than working in small groups or…
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Only 5% of vulnerable children in England attending school

New data from the Department for Education has revealed that only 29,000 at-risk children attended school in England the week before Easter, compared to 723,000 children who were known to Social Services in 2019. The small take-up of emergency schooling has raised concerns that vulnerable children are facing increased danger whilst living in lockdown, potentially being exposed to what Children’s Commissioner, Anne Longfield, describes as a “cocktail of risks”, including domestic violence, poverty and parents with drug…
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UK schools to close until further notice amid Covid-19 outbreak

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…
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Child Mental Health Week and the launch of books from Reading Well to support children’s mental health

This week is Child Mental Health Week in the UK, set up by children’s mental health charity Place2Be, the week shines a spotlight on the importance of children and young people’s mental health. With 3 children in every classroom in the UK now presenting with a diagnosable mental health problem, this year’s theme is Find your Brave.  To coincide with the week, reading charity The Reading Agency supported by Libraries Connected has launched a booklist to support children’s mental…
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