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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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COVID-19 Education

Our students are trapped in a psychological experiment

Freshers across the country are being subjected to a psychological experiment that would never have been imagined, let alone sanctioned, before Covid-19 plunged the world into restrictive measures. Whether they will do any more than flatten curves or delay peaks is still not known but, either way, we are risking a mental health catastrophe among our young people.

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Children Education Sex and Gender

Let’s kick ‘gender identity’ out of school

If Liz Truss made waves in the transgender debate when she said no to ‘self-ID’, then guidance emerging from the Department for Education (DfE) is likely to cause even bigger ructions. An explosive paragraph buried towards the end of the document shows why:

‘We are aware that topics involving gender and biological sex can be complex and sensitive matters to navigate. You should not reinforce harmful stereotypes, for instance by suggesting that children might be a different gender based on their personality and interests or the clothes they prefer to wear. Resources used in teaching about this topic must always be age-appropriate and evidence based. Materials which suggest that non-conformity to gender stereotypes should be seen as synonymous with having a different gender identity should not be used and you should not work with external agencies or organisations that produce such material. While teachers should not suggest to a child that their non-compliance with gender stereotypes means that either their personality or their body is wrong and in need of changing, teachers should always seek to treat individual students with sympathy and support.

Department for Education
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COVID-19 Education

The Covid-secure classroom is taking a big toll on pupils

‘My water bottle has leaked in my bag!’ The 11-year-old girl was distraught. It was her first week at secondary school. Her neatly titled exercise books – hitherto in pristine condition – were dripping wet; was she in trouble? What would become of her?

That happened in my wife’s class. She is also a teacher and has seen most things in her career. Flooded bags are a regular mishap. Usually, upset children are easily calmed when their teacher takes charge to put things right. But September 2020 has been a very different experience in schools. Socially distanced from the class, Stephanie was unable to offer any more than verbal instructions to her young pupil. Twenty minutes later the poor girl was still wiping out her bag.

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COVID-19 Education

Boris’s mask debacle is doing a disservice to teachers

The latest U-turn – this time on face masks in schools – comes less than a week before hundreds of thousands of teachers, including myself, return to the classroom. But is the announcement that secondary school pupils may have to wear masks as they make their way around schools really a smart idea? I’m not convinced.

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Children Education

Supporting transgender students: what you need to know


How can you ensure young people can express their gender identity in school without experiencing discrimination or being made to feel uncomfortable? And how do these concerns intersect with legal and safeguarding requirements? Teacher Debbie Hayton explains all in this guide