On Thursday, teachers planning residential trips were told that it was just fine for teenagers of the opposite sex to share a room.
Today’s A level results are unprecedented, but not unexpected. On Friday, Professor Alan Smithers of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham said, ‘The early signs are that it will be another bumper year for grades.’ He went on to suggest that this might be, ‘justified as compensation for all the disruption suffered’.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s push for recording lessons is misplaced – it would be better to tackle the lobby groups that are driving absurd, divisive and dangerous policies into our schools.
Stonewall’s ‘Diversity Champions’ programme appears to have been haemorrhaging members since an investigation by the university of Essex found that the organisation had been preaching ‘Stonewall Law’ rather than the actual law.
But it is not only corporations, councils and government departments who have been persuaded to part with good money to receive questionable advice. Stonewall’s similarly named ‘Schools and Colleges Champion Programme’ seems to have sucked places of education into the charity’s web as well. As a teacher I know how tight school budgets have become in recent years, but it seems that several schools have still found money to hand over to Stonewall.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Teachers and education support personnel must be prioritised in the roll-out of the vaccine.