Discussion of the UK Government
:sunglasses: 48.1 % :thumbsup: 24.1 % 😯 1.9 % :grinning: 13 % 🙏 5.6 % :cry: 7.4 %
There was much discussion in schools last week, over the numbers (and loose definitions of) children of 'key workers' who had the right to return to school.

As Matt has noted, almost all university staff were entitled (and many took up) places, and anyone deemed by their employer to be 'essential' had the right to get someone else to look after their kids.

In effect this put schools under enormous pressure, as there were too many kids in some schools to allow social distancing, and more teachers were required, despite having to provide 3-4 hours of online teaching a day. This came with the added delight of exposing school staff and pupils to even more infective cases. Pushing schools to breaking point again, and illustrating that neither Williamson or the officials at the DfE have any real idea of how schools work or how they are organised, or anay sense of s duty of care for pupils or school staff.

So then we have yet another u-turn - this time at 5.30pm on Friday, just in time for school leadership teams and individual teachers to give up a rest break re-organising everything for this week.

It is quite unbelievable.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2 ... nges-again
oboogie liked this
This intrigues me because I thought "key workers" were defined in legislation - at the time of the original lockdown they were and there was certainly none of this self-identification stuff?
There have been several people in a local FB group bragging about being designated essential workers (by their bosses) and how they "have to" go in to the office every day, and because they are "essential workers" it's ok for their non-working wives to dump their kids off at school and go off and amuse themselves all day.

There might be only a few of them here, but how many people across the country are doing this?

This is a direct result of the government's inability to issue clear instructions and ensure they are rigidly enforced.
oboogie liked this
I think one of the problems is that guidance from the DFE is always issued way too late. During the first lockdown we only had 12 students in school out of 800 this increased towards the end when the government tried to get more Year 10 pupils in.

This time around I think we already have 70 students in and more are set to return next week. This will cause problems because most teachers are now working from home so it is left to pastoral staff and teaching assistants to supervise these students. At the moment we are trying to have no more than 10 students in each classroom to allow for social distancing but this will become more difficult if numbers keep rising.

Williamson is trying to get more students with special needs into school and he seems to have change the guidelines to say that whereas most students are currently being recorded as receiving education elsewhere if a student with special needs is not in school they are recorded as absent. This really is ridiculous given that a number of parents with SEN students would rather they worked from home because they realise that many SEN students find it very stressful to be in school at the moment.
oboogie liked this
Parents have turned the tables on Gavin Williamson by contacting Ofsted to praise schools and complain about his performance - with the inspectorate being deluged with 5,000 emails since Wednesday

https://schoolsweek.co.uk/ofsted-deluge ... b-schools/
A system he set up for parents to bash schools is being used to bash him instead :lol:
At least Ofsted are getting a clear idea of how parents are viewing schools, and if there are any failings who is to blame (not that they weren't already aware of that bit). Which can only be a Good Thing.
Cyclist wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 1:02 pm
At least Ofsted are getting a clear idea of how parents are viewing schools, and if there are any failings who is to blame (not that they weren't already aware of that bit). Which can only be a Good Thing.
Ofsted will dismiss this as evidence, as it is a self-selecting sample...
It just keeps getting worse:

Repeated omission of special schools points to an ableist department

https://schoolsweek.co.uk/special-schoo ... overnment/
We know the Tories are renowned for not caring but this is pretty grim reading nonetheless.
Insiders say it wasn't his choice and he'd been overtaken by changing evidence about the virus - but it cut the ground from under him and left Mr Williamson once again looking beleaguered and besieged, fending off hostile questions.

Labour taunted him for bringing "chaos and confusion" wherever he went. In a poll of 6,000 teachers, 92% thought he should resign. And a leader article in The Times pronounced that Mr Williamson was the Cabinet's "worst performer" who had "sacrificed his own future in government".
Many headteachers had their Christmas holidays ruined by Gavin Williamson because on the 18th December he said all schools needed to be ready to introduce mass testing of pupils and staff as soon as schools re-opened. It now appears that this testing will be paused because it hasn't been approved by the relevant regulator.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/ ... in-england

At the next Prime Minister's question time an MP really needs to ask Johnson what Williamson would need to do in order to get sacked.
Tubby Isaacs liked this
I think he rushed it through hoping that the promise of widespread testing would convince Tory MPs and many parents that schools could open safely after Christmas but within days of him announcing these plans the sharp rise in deaths and positive tests meant that schools could not properly reopen.
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