Categories
COVID-19 Education

Why aren’t exams going ahead?

When Boris Johnson talked about trusting teachers, I suspected that the government must be desperate. Trust is not a word I have head much in my 25-year teaching career. I am no longer trusted to go into a GCSE exam hall to look at the paper that my class is sitting in case I somehow manage to undermine the integrity of the exam.

Categories
COVID-19 Education

Sorry Boris, school’s out for summer

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a disaster for children. But calls to extend the school year are not the answer. Obviously, teacher unions will object if their members are instructed to work more days and longer hours in the summer without a pay deal to compensate. However, if their protests have scuppered those plans so quickly, the government needs a better strategy. Besides, children need a new approach now, not later.

Categories
COVID-19 Education

Lockdown learning is no match for the joys of the classroom

Schools in January are usually full of life, but not this year. At the start of my day, I walk alone down silent corridors to an empty classroom. There are no children lined up outside; the bustle of school life is gone and the only voice I hear is my own.

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COVID-19 Education

Why Williamson’s u-turn won’t affect all GCSE students

The future became more uncertain for hundreds of thousands of youngsters this week when Gavin Williamson cancelled their GCSE exams. But pupils at some of Britain’s top public schools were affected less than their contemporaries in state maintained schools.

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COVID-19 Education

Closing schools was inevitable. But cancelling exams is a mistake

On Sunday morning, Boris Johnson told us that schools were safe but, tellingly, did not rule out further closures. By Monday evening he had shut every school in England to most pupils. By then, of course, many primary schools had opened for just one day. Children mingled – as they do – and went home not to return. But after those bubbles were mixed, fewer grandparents may be willing to look after them.

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COVID-19 Education

Only once teachers are protected can we get back to the classroom in confidence

Teachers and education support personnel must be prioritised in the roll-out of the vaccine.

Categories
COVID-19 Education

The misery continues for the Covid class of 2020

England might be coming out of lockdown – some of it at least – but there is little cheer for students. This week’s government mandated ‘student travel window‘ will extinguish any vestiges of face-to-face teaching to allow students to Zoom out the term from parental homes. My son Barney is among the class of 2020, the group of students forking out high fees to be cooped up in their overpriced university accommodation, seeing few people apart from the flat mates they have been billeted with.

Categories
COVID-19 Education

Covid or no Covid, next year’s exams must go ahead

The decision to cancel next summer’s GCSE and A-Level exams in Wales has left teachers and pupils in uncharted waters. After Scotland scrapped its GCSE-equivalent National 5 exams in 2021 – opting for teacher assessments and coursework instead – England is under pressure to follow suit. But education secretary Gavin Williamson must stick to his guns and ensure that next year’s exams do go ahead.

Categories
Education Free Speech Labour Party Sex and Gender

Privileged students are weaponising trans rights

We are in dangerous times when adults who should know better allow student politicians to play the trans card so they can act with impunity. On campuses across the country, the pink and blue flag is being used to excuse the bullying and harassment of anyone who does not adhere to gender identity ideology, and its catechism, “trans women are women”.

Categories
Education Free Speech Labour Party Sex and Gender

Shame on the Cambridge students hounding Kevin Price

The Tories may have taken self-identification of legal gender off the table, but the transgender thought police have certainly not gone away. Their latest victim is Kevin Price who, until last Thursday, was a Labour member of Cambridge City council, in a seat he had held for ten years.