Today (Monday 15 June) is the first day that students from years 10 and 12 have been allowed to return to school. Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“Secondary school leaders and their teams have worked tirelessly over the past few weeks to plan the return of as many year 10 and 12 students as possible from Monday, as instructed by the government. They have used official guidance and health and safety information from the government and Public Health England to risk assess and put in place arrangements to keep pupils, parents and staff as safe as possible.
“We have pushed hard for flexibility from the government around how and when schools bring students back, and for a willingness for leaders to take local circumstances into account. Secondary schools will utilise those flexibilities to implement the return of their Year 10 and 12 students considering their students’ needs, staff availability and the spaces they have available.
“Secondary schools are also thinking beyond the summer term to what the autumn will bring. NAHT are being absolutely clear with government that a detailed, coherent plan for September that's properly supported and rooted in independent advice is needed as soon as possible. We know that the disruption this year will have an impact on exams and assessments next academic year and we are working with the DfE to consider the best ways forward. It is vital that schools can focus on what is needed for their current students whether that is a phased reopening, improving remote learning or face to face teaching. The proposal that all secondary schools will run an additional exam series in the autumn term is completely unreasonable in these circumstances.
“And we continue to challenge notions of "catching up over the summer", which completely underplays the scale and the nature of the challenges likely to be faced because of prolonged absence from school. There is no quick fix. Instead we need a sustainable, long-term plan that draws on the wealth of knowledge within the profession about how to narrow achievement gaps, and serious consideration of a ‘catch-up premium’ to allow schools to focus on activities that are proven to work.”
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