Welcome to this week’s round up of the biggest news in the education landscape. With both temperatures and tensions running high over A-level results day and the return to school for teachers and students getting ever nearer, there’s lots to discuss!
Uproar over A-level grades across England, Northern Ireland and Wales
The main story within the education sector this week is, of course, A-level results day. Since exams were cancelled in March, there has been constant speculation about what results day would bring for the thousands of students across the UK who were anxiously awaiting news of their future. It has been a controversial process that peaked yesterday with the news that nearly 40% of A-level grades awarded on Thursday were lower than teachers’ predictions. No matter which way you look at it, the fact remains that there are many young people across the country who are understandably upset, disappointed and outraged. Many have lost out on university places because of the moderation process. It’s vital that the correct measures are put in place to ensure these students are not set back as a result of exams they did not sit.
Little evidence of Covid-19 transmission in schools
While government advisers have warned that the nation may have reached the limit of what can be reopened in society safely, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson suggested an upcoming study would support the government's position on reopening schools. A review of 18 studies suggested children might be half as likely as adults to pass on the virus. But it’s important to remember that schools don’t just bring children together - teachers, parents at school gates and other knock-on effects, like more people on public transport or in offices could also influence the spread of the virus. We’ll be listening out for further updates on this as we get closer to September.
ITV enlists young carers to create community-focused ident
ITV has partnered with young carers under the age of 18 from across London to create an ident demonstrating the role of community among the group. This brought a smile to our faces here at Hopscotch as we couldn’t agree more that these young people need to be celebrated! Created under the guidance of artist Amy Leung in partnership with creative arts charity Create, the ident shows carers from Hillingdon, Kingston and Lambeth as they discuss their collective hobbies and interests. Throughout the clip, they each contribute to a sketch that forms part of the ITV logo to show their collective role within society.
Heads can choose to let teachers wear face masks
Health experts have concluded that face coverings help to reduce the transmission risk of the virus, but as more face mask rules are enforced in shops and public spaces, it will now be up to headteachers to decide whether staff can wear face coverings in schools. Nick Gibb, schools minister, said, "there is no need for mask-wearing within the school", provided a "hierarchy of controls" are in place. But the decision as to whether school staff are permitted to wear face coverings will ultimately lie with headteachers.