Edco News Round up September 2020

The 'new normal' in schools?

For a majority of students in the UK, their autumn term has begun back in their classrooms.

Boris Johnson announced that schools would be re-opened in September on a full-time plan, followed with guidelines of new measures to be introduced.

Whilst in school, students from year 7 and upwards have to wear face masks. Some schools allow students to remove them once in the classroom and many year groups will be sectioned off in 'bubbles'.

Some schools have kept students in one classroom and the teachers have been moving from lesson-to-lesson, to avoid close contact in school corridors. As well as consistent cleaning measures, one-way systems and staggering lunchtimes have been introduced.

Due to the Nations lockdown, schools have been directed to teach an "ambitious and broad curriculum in all subjects". Students will now begin to be quizzed regularly, to ensure they understand the curriculum and can catch up.

Remote learning is also being incorporated into lessons, to plan ahead if a local lockdown is introduced and a school has to close again.

Guidance for full opening: schools - GOV
Are face masks compulsory when schools reopen? - The Telegraph
What do schools look like now? - BBC

Plans for the 2021 examinations

Talks of moving examinations online if COVID-19 prevents in-school tests in 2021.

After the chaos and being heavily criticised over the handling and outcome of this year's grading system, other options are being evaluated.

The chair of Ofqual, Roger Taylor, said it is "absolutely essential" that students have the opportunity to take their tests next year.

If online tests are not implemented, another option is producing multiple exam papers. If a student is unable to take an exam on a certain date, due to self-isolating, they'd be able to take a different paper at a later date.

Julie Swan, Ofqual's executive director for general qualifications, said: "We absolutely recognise the need for some certainty and we are working with the Department for Education to try and get conclusions I would think within weeks rather than over a period of months.”

Decision on GCSE and A-levels timetable weeks away - as regulator considers online tests in case of lockdown - Sky News

A pause on Ofsted in schools?

A TES survey showed that 80% of 4,500 teachers want school inspections to be put off for a year, and a fifth would rather not have at all.

When asked when should routine school inspections resume:

3% said next term
4% sad after Easter
5% said after Christmas
36% said September 2021
24% said 2022 or later
And 20% would rather they stop for good.

The majority of teachers that took part stated that schools should not have to deal with inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One teacher said: "Schools will need a period of time after they return to normal, a normal school day will not be achievable untill a vaccine is found. It would be incredibly unfair to judge any school still working in difficult circumstances that are beyond their control."

However, Ofsted will be returning to schools this year, to monitor how well pupils are being supported with getting back into the routine of education.

Stop Ofsted for a year or more, say teachers - TES