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Education insights: Joe Wicks is back, guidance on free school meals and Ofsted’s tips to successful remote learning

 As we all get into the swing of the new lockdown, this week’s education news has highlighted the reality for different members of the community. From staff at SEND schools to free school meals, we’ve highlighted some of the key news and topics of the week.

More than 120k people tune in for the return of Joe Wicks’ PE with Joe live stream

With the school gates shut for most once again, Joe Wicks (AKA The Body Coach) has relaunched his PE with Joe exercise classes with week, with more than 120,000 people tuning in. Before the session began, he told viewers: “I can’t believe I’m here but there you are. I will be there for as long as you need me.” We can’t fault Joe’s passion and energy for getting the nation moving, and we’re particularly looking forward to the return of Dress Up Friday!

Guidance for schools providing free school meals

After a week of discussion and debate about the quality of food parcels received by families of children who usually have free school meals, the government has released on school meals arrangements during lockdown. The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has said schools will be able to offer vouchers rather than food parcels from next week. With this third lockdown proving to be a strain in many ways for lower-income families, it’s great to see the government stepping up and showing support.

How to do remote learning ‘well’: Ofsted's 7 top tips

Ofsted has created a series of guidelines for schools on remote learning during the third national lockdown. Many teachers will be familiar with all thing remote by now, but it is helpful for them to see if there is anything new they can be trying. The advice draws on findings from Ofsted’s interim visits and “wider sources”. Common and unhelpful myths about remote education include the idea that remote education is fundamentally different to other forms of teaching, that the best forms are digital, and that the best way to deliver remote education is through live lessons.

'We feel forgotten': special needs teachers on helping England's vulnerable children

It has been revealed that although the government has told SEND schools to stay open during lockdown, their staff are not being prioritised for the Covid vaccines. Teachers working with children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) feel that their concerns about safety are not being heard amid rapidly rising coronavirus rates. Precautions like social distancing and mask wearing are much more difficult to uphold with SEND students so it is understandable why many would like to see staff being prioritised. 

Cambridge University starts new foundation courses for 'disadvantaged' students

It has this week been announced that students from disadvantaged backgrounds who fail to meet the University of Cambridge's high entry requirements will be given a new chance to study there. The university usually requires A*AA at A level to get on degree courses, but a new one-year foundation course has 50 places for students who achieve BBB. If successful on the course, students can then go on to study for degrees. Social mobility campaigners The Sutton Trust welcomed the "innovative steps" and we agree that this is a great step to a more diverse university.

About the author

Eloise Turner

Eloise has gained lots of marketing and comms knowledge having worked with a range of organisations in the education, women’s health and global logistics industry. With experience in content creation, copywriting and social media she brings her passion for reaching the younger audience when working on projects for Sport England, LifeSkills created with Barclays and RSPCA.

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