As life began to return to normal this week (although there was nothing normal about the weather some parts of the country experienced!), the education news headlines this week are reflective of areas that are receiving, or in need of, support. These include SEND, reading and educator wellbeing. Discover more below.
£280m captial funding boost for children and young people with SEND
It has been announced that councils will receive new funding to create specialist places in schools, academies, colleges and early years settings to improve provision for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The funding will enhance existing provision to create modern, fit-for-purpose spaces suited to a wider range of needs. When working with the RSPCA to adapt their popular Compassionate Class lessons for SEND students, we were reminded of the importance of ensuring all young people receive an excellent education.
Children's Laureate leads call for £100m primary school library fund
Cressida Cowell has published an open letter asking the prime minister to guarantee £100m a year to help primary school libraries. The writer of How to Train Your Dragon told the BBC she wanted "something hopeful" to come out of the "darkness" of the pandemic, stating that "If you want to level up, libraries have to be a key part of that." Reading has been a source of joy for so many of us here at Hopscotch over the last 12 months, so we think giving young people access to books from a young age is a great idea!
Teachers 'need immediate cut to devastating workload'
Working with the Bupa Foundation to help share their wellbeing expertise with educators has shown us first-hand the importance of school staff maintaining and looking after their wellbeing. We are saddened to hear that while there have been "welcome" steps taken by the Department for Education to reduce the "unsustainable" level of work faced by teachers, such efforts have "clearly not had the desired effect", the joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union has warned. Tes has highlighted the impact of Covid on teacher workload, and how teachers are calling for things to change.
Help sixth-formers make up lost learning, say UK college leaders
College leaders are calling for sixth-formers to be allowed to repeat part of the year to make up for lost learning, as research showed three-quarters had fallen between one and four months behind during the coronavirus pandemic. We have been working with our clients to develop catch-up resources in 2021, both for secondary school students and in further education, and while these additions to existing education programmes are vital, we are interested to see how the Government responds to these calls.
Free early years education from age 1 promised by SNP
In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon is to lay out plans for free early years education to be extended to children aged 1 and 2 and for childcare that would be available all year round. If elected on 6th May, the SNP government would extend childcare to cover the periods before and after the school day throughout the year, and those on the lowest incomes would pay nothing. These proposed plans would be very appealing to many parents and carers, and we are keen to see if the other UK nations will follow suit.