Government ministers accused of failing to take steps to tackle sexual assault in schools

As an inquiry is launched into an increasing amount of sexual abuse allegations in schools, ministers are said to have ignored requests for greater monitoring powers. The Guardian reported that the chief inspector of Ofsted asked for more powers to check “potential safeguarding issues” in independent schools in 2018 and 2019. The requests were ignored. Since then, more than 14,000 allegations of sexual harassment and assault in schools and universities have been shared on the website Everyone’s Invited. There are stories from both private and state schools. Ofsted is heading an inquiry into how sexual harassment is dealt with by schools, as MPs said ministers hadn’t taken the issue…

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Secret Teacher | Schools urgently need funding to tackle the impact of a year of restrictions

Now that school life is getting back to some form of normality (whatever that is these days), we’re starting to see the serious effects of a year of restrictions on the children in school: emotional fragility, stability issues, and, of course, the social maladjustment as a result of the ‘bubble’ system. All of these are a potentially lethal cocktail for vulnerable children. The government has told us that it will do everything it can to get kids back on track –  mentally, physically, and academically. With large swathes of children coming back to school with seriously depleted writing/arithmetic skills, a noticeable decline in fitness, and lacking self-worth, it’s…

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Face coverings in secondary schools will not be compulsory, says minister

Face coverings and asymptomatic coronavirus (Covid-19) tests in secondary schools will not be compulsory when pupils in England return to class next month, the schools minister has confirmed. Not compulsory Nick Gibb acknowledged that it’s “more challenging” to teach with face masks, but he said wearing face coverings is “highly recommended”. He appealed to parents to allow their secondary school-age children to take part in regular voluntary rapid coronavirus tests when classrooms reopen from March 8. He told Times Radio: Of course we can’t make it mandatory on parents but we just hope that most parents will see the wisdom of testing their children twice a week. Over…

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Scientists warn transmission increase is likely as government sets out plans to return to schools

Education unions have warned reopening schools in full would be “reckless”, as scientists say it could lead to increased transmission. This evening, the prime minister is expected to announce the opening of all schools from 8 March. This is despite several education organisations and scientists calling for a phased reopening to prioritise safety of staff and students. The announcement follows research suggesting reopening schools will lead to the R number rising to above 1, increasing transmission. ‘Wider opening must be safe and sustainable’ Nine education organisations, including the National Education Union (NEU), the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), and GMB have implored the government to be cautious…

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Teacher Unions: We Want to Reopen Schools as Well, But We Need Vaccines & Resources to Do It Safely

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show looking at the state of the nation’s school a year into the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday night, President Biden said teachers should be given higher priority to get vaccines, and he pledged to reopen the majority of elementary schools in his first 100 days. Biden made the comments at a town hall meeting in Milwaukee hosted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper. PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I think that we should be vaccinating teachers. We should move them up in the hierarchy, as well. ANDERSON COOPER: Well, let me ask you. Your administration…

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Reopening schools: experts urge caution as government aims for March return

Conservative MPs have called for schools to open from 8 March, though unions and medical professionals doubt the safety of this plan. A group of MPs, calling themselves the COVID Recovery Group, have written to the prime minister to call for schools to open in March, as well as for hospitality venues to open by Easter. The letter, signed by 63 MPs, said: First, the “national priority” of reopening all schools to all pupils must be achieved by 8 March. Every hour of classroom learning lost harms the nation’s children and the schools shutdown is having a huge impact on children’s health and welfare. On 14 February, Dominic…

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Diane Ravitch: Biden’s Pick for Education Secretary Must Overturn DeVos’s Attack on Public Schools

President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Connecticut public schools commissioner Miguel Cardona for secretary of education, tapping a third Latinx person to join his Cabinet. Cardona is a former teacher who represents a sharp break from outgoing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who urged career employees at the Education Department earlier this month to “be the resistance” to the incoming administration. He is Puerto Rican and began his career as a fourth grade teacher, becoming the state’s top schools official just last August, the first Latinx person to hold the position. “He’s not Betsy DeVos, and every educator in America, or almost every educator, will be thrilled about that,” says…

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Education body says the government’s “11th hour” testing plans for schools are “chaotic and rushed”

Support us and go ad-freeHeadteachers could end up working on Christmas Day to put in place “11th hour” plans for the mass Covid-19 testing of students from January, an education sector body has warned.Sam Henson, director of policy and information at the National Governance Association (NGA), said more detail was needed by teachers on how new coronavirus testing systems would be implemented in schools by the new year.His comments came after the government announced secondary school and college pupils’ return to class in England will be staggered in the first week of January to help schools roll out mass testing of students.Schools minister Nick Gibb has said the…

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CIA-Backed Afghan Death Squads Massacred Children Inside Religious Schools in Campaign of Terror

A shocking exposé in The Intercept reveals CIA-backed death squads in Afghanistan have killed children as young as 8 years old in a series of night raids, many targeting madrassas, Islamic religious schools. In December 2018, one of the death squads attacked a madrassa in Wardak province, killing 12 boys, of whom the youngest was 9 years old. The United States played key roles in many of the raids, from picking targets to ferrying Afghan forces to the sites to providing lethal airpower during the raids. The Intercept reports this was part of a campaign of terror orchestrated by the Trump administration that included massacres, executions, mutilation, forced…

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COVID-19 infection rates in schools mirror rates in the community

Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rates among students and staff in schools were linked to those found in the wider community at the peak of the second wave, one of the largest studies in schools has found. The Schools Infection Survey (SIS) – a partnership between Public Health England (PHE), the Office for National Statistics and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) – tested nearly 10,000 students and staff across England in November. Testing occurred at schools, and was not determined by participants having any symptoms. The study found 1.24% of pupils (95% confidence interval: 0.96% to 1.58%) and 1.29% of staff (95% confidence interval: 0.96% to…

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