Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, has announced that attendance will be mandatory in English schools for all pupils from September, and that schools will be expected to teach a full curriculum. Additionally, exams are expected to take place in summer 2021.
Government will take 'specific action' against schools that do not comply with these guidelines in September, the education secretary said. Plans to re-open schools have been controversial in recent weeks; advocates have argued that closing schools increases educational inequality, as students from middle class families are more likely to receive tutoring or informal education at home. Opponents have argued that the plans put families at risk when more than two generations live in one household, which is particularly common amongst working class and ethnic minority communities.
Many observers had expected education to follow a 'blended' model for the foreseeable future, where classroom teaching is supplemented with online classes to maximise the ability to maintain social distancing on school premises. There are concerns that schools do not have the buildings or resources to enforce social distancing guidelines with a full set of pupils without 'blended' learning.
England's deputy chief medical adviser, Jenny Harries, said a second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in England was 'quite a possibility' and could not be ruled out, but added that people had 'worked really hard' to get past the first wave.
Several countries have seen cases spike in recent days, after initially containing the spread of the virus - while several UK regions have seen similar. UK government policy is for these regional spikes to be mitigated through localised lockdowns going forwards, as in Leicester. However, there have been reports of issues with boundaries drawn in that case.
Many expect that this local approach will be extended to schools to minimise risk should case numbers start to rise, however there has been little clarity on logistics or funding at this stage.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS