css-14iz86j-BoldText {font-weight: bold;} Closing schools to combat Covid puts children’s lives on hold and should be kept to an “absolute minimum”, said the head of the English school guard

Ofsted Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman spoke out as ministers faced growing pressure to keep all schools in England closed after the Christmas break

Amid an increase in Covid cases, teaching unions have told elementary school staff that it is unsafe to return to work

Most primary schools in England are expected to open on Monday, but secondary schools will reopen in stages The students of the examination year return on 11 January and others back a week later

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced this css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link {color: # 3F3F42;} css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited {color: # 696969;} css-yidnqd-InlineLink: Link, css-yidnqd-InlineLink : visited {font size: bolder; Bottom margin: 1px solid #BABABA; -webkit text decoration: none; Text decoration: none;} css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link: hover, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited: hover, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link: focus, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited: focus {edge-floor-color : current color; Edge-Floor-Width: 2px; Color: # B80000;} @ supported (text underline offset: 025em) {css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited {margin-bottom: none; -webkit text decoration: underline #BABABA; Text decoration: underline #BABABA; -webkit-text decoration-thickness: 1px; Text Decoration Thickness: 1px; -webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink: none; text-decoration-skip-ink: none; text-underline-offset: 025em;} css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link: hover, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited: hover, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: link: focus, css-yidnqd-InlineLink: visited: focus {- webkit-text-decoration-color: currentcolor; text-decoration-color: currentcolor; -webkit-text-decoration-thickness: 2px; text-decoration-thickness: 2px; Color: # B80000;}} All London primaries remain closed for most students after pressure from local authorities to overturn an earlier decision to only close schools in certain districts

That means that more than a million elementary school students will study from home for at least the first two weeks of the semester

But there could be a lot more learning at home by Monday after the UK’s largest teachers’ union advised staff not to work safely in schools and Brighton and Hove Council advised elementary schools in its area to switch to distance learning. p>

In a letter to the headmasters seen by the BBC, the local authority said it had written to the Education Secretary asking for him to be appointed within the same framework that closed the primaries in London and parts of the South led east of England

Birmingham City Council Labor leader Ian Ward said the city has seen a surge in cases since the lockdown ended in November, with cases in five- to nine-year-olds rising from 93 per 100000 on 7 December to 174 per 100000 had risen on 27 December indicated a pattern that the new variant was present

He told the BBC Breakfast Birmingham Schools to conduct a risk assessment and if it were found to be unsafe to open schools the council would support the principals’ decision

Mr Williamson said the closings are a “last resort and temporary solution” to address the particularly high rates of infection in the capital caused by a new, fast-spreading variant of the virus at risky students and children of key workers will continue to attend school, said the government

As Ms. Spielman wrote in the Sunday Telegraph, she welcomed the “real consensus that schools should be the last place to close and the first to reopen”

“It is becoming increasingly clear that children’s lives cannot simply be put on hold while we wait for vaccination programs to take effect and for the waves of infection to subside,” she said

She added that long periods of distance learning had caused younger children to lose their basics, with some forgetting how to hold a pencil or use a knife and fork

For older children who were forced to spend time outside of school, Ms. Spielman said Ofsted had seen an increase in eating disorders and self-harm

“For all of these reasons, we need to renew and maintain the consensus that children’s schooling should be kept to an absolute minimum,” she wrote

School principals in Wales and England have taken legal action to compel ministers to reveal dates behind the decision to reopen some schools

The Department of Education said its decisions were based on new infections and pressure on the NHS in the local areas

Three of the UK’s hardest hit local authorities have not been ordered to postpone the opening of the primaries

Rushmoor (817 cases per 100000 people in the week up to 28 December), Slough (777) and Spelthorne (721) are all located in the south east of England and are subject to the strictest rules for coronavirus – level four

In Rushmoor, where cases have increased 54% from week to week, the case rate is over 26 local authorities where elementary schools were held on Jan. Closed on January

Secondary schools in England have staggered returns, with students aged 11 and over January 2021 take exams and other year groups on 18 Return in person on January 4th Most primary schools in England open on January 4th They will return on January 18, but in London and some surrounding areas they will not return until Jan. January will be open to most students

In Wales local councils have been told that they can be “flexible” when it opens Many schools aim to start at age 11 January to teach in person again

In Northern Ireland, elementary school students through 11th January taught online In secondary schools, years 8 to 11 are taught online throughout January until 14 Class return to school after the first week of January

In Scotland, the Christmas holidays were extended to 11 Extended January and only online learning for the following week January planned

Another 57725 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK were announced by the government on Saturday, plus 445 more deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid test in Scotland with no reported deaths due to the holiday season

The worsening situation has led educational leaders to urge the government to reverse their decision to promote face-to-face learning for many students:

Dr Mike Tildesley, a Warwick University epidemiologist who advises the government under the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), said that while there has been an increase in cases in secondary age groups, there was no clear evidence of transmission in the school setting

A spokesman for the Ministry of Education said: “Children’s education has always been a national priority That is why we want the classrooms to be reopened whenever possible during the new term of office

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Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-55333685