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Should schools close to most pupils?

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 marsbar 29 Dec 2020

It seems to me that the magical force field that makes schools safe with no social distancing and bubbles of several hundred just isn't working.  

I know there is a "plan" to test children and teachers, but it seems that this may not be quite as straightforward as telling schools to just get on with it.  Who would have thought?  

With the new variant spreading is it time to go back to the original lockdown version, where key workers children and vulnerable children recieved face to face socially distanced lessons, and the rest get taught online for a month or so?  

In other questions, did anyone actually get the promised laptops for kids with no tech at home?  

Once a month is done, how about doing what the Fench did months ago, have 1/2 the pupils in school at any given time, on a rota so that social distancing can happen.  

Or maybe take over some of the empty church halls and leisure centres for more space?  

And once NHS staff and people over 70 have been vaccinated, should teachers over 50 be prioritised?  Or all teachers?  Is it worth it to keep schools open?  Or should schools build perspex boxes for teachers (some have)  

Post edited at 15:04
8
In reply to marsbar:

Short answer, yes.  With a plan to go to 50% attendance to allow social distancing once vaccines start having an effect.

Because of the IT access issue, I would suggest they look to do it in an "old Open University" style manner, using not just IT but also written work and TV programmes.

Another thing that might be worth looking at is rejigging the benefit system so households can for the time being live on only one full time job (that doesn't need to be the traditional man; it could be the woman or it could be half and half in part time work).  Then there's always someone to look after the kids when they're not in school.

Post edited at 15:11
1
 marsbar 29 Dec 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

We sent masses of paper in the post last time to kids that preferred it.  It would be brilliant if some of the internet lessons were on TV though.  There is a lot of internet content available now that was put in place since last time and many teachers now equipped to teach online (many pupils find it reassuring to have their usual teachers) so it would be good if tech was made available somehow for kids to use.  

In reply to marsbar:

One of the challenges is that there are, sadly, plenty of households where any free tech would be flogged for drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.  We need (more than anyone else) to ensure we provide for these kids as they're already massively disadvantaged.  To a fair extent, the classic middle class household needs the least help - typically those have well-educated parents who could, and in many cases largely did, home-school to a reasonably good level for a short time in March-April.

Post edited at 15:17
12
 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

If schools can stay open in a limited capacity, disadvantaged pupils should be the priority. Unlike June/July

 mattmurphy 29 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

No schools shouldn’t close under any circumstance.

The education of children is more important than the lives of the old and vulnerable.

We must either put in other measures to suppress  Covid transmission or we just have to accept hospital capacity will be breached and set out what the triage criteria will be.

54
 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to mattmurphy:

> No schools shouldn’t close under any circumstance.

So when one of my previous schools had 90+ positive cases including 17 staff you would have expected it to stay open?

1
 wintertree 29 Dec 2020
In reply to mattmurphy:

> The education of children is more important than the lives of the old and vulnerable.

I know that this has been explained to you before, but this isn't just - or even primarily - about the old and those otherwise vulnerable to Covid.

How many children need treatment in hospitals for reasons other than Covid?  How many of their parents?  how many of their teachers?  It's about all these people.

> We must either put in other measures to suppress  Covid transmission

Do you promise not to argue against any of them, at all, if they are enacted? 

> or we just have to accept hospital capacity will be breached and set out what the triage criteria will be.

Funny, one of the anti-lockdown posters has repeatedly insisted that we're all catastrophising and that the idea of triaging people to die is a fantasy.  Their worst piece of shitposting post got shunted to the pub to die.  I'm surprised they've shown their face here since - although they have.

I'm sure those people advocating a system to prioritise deaths will have no problem with their name going at the top of the list, regardless of why they may need medical care.  If they're not, I don't have any time for their views - someone willing to throw others under the bus before themselves has no place in the kind of society I want to live in.

Finally - this has been discussed many, many times, but the fastest way to beat the virus is to go hard and early with control measures.  It's looking like this variant may spread more across all demographics including children - thus putting teachers at greater risk.  Class isolation orders were disrupting education severely in many places towards the end of last term.  If temporarily closing schools is part of the fastest and best way to get schools permanently reopened for all, and if you believe in the paramount importance of education, how can you argue against that?

> The education of children is more important than the lives of the old and vulnerable.

Resources can and should be thrown at keeping education running with less occupancy in schools, prioritising keeping the children in school whose home environment doesn't support remote learning.  

It's telling that you go straight to "make choices that will kill the old and vulnerable" rather than considering what can and should be done in the middle ground.

Post edited at 15:47
13
In reply to mattmurphy:

> The education of children is more important than the lives of the old and vulnerable.

It's not just the old and vulnerable. Triage criteria already exist; that's been planned a long time ago. You really want to go down that route? Do you want to be the healthcare professional that has to say "sorry, Mr Murphy, were going to leave you to die".

Education can be extended once we're out of this mess.

1
 marsbar 29 Dec 2020
In reply to mattmurphy:

I don't even know where to start with that..  

1
In reply to captain paranoia:

> Education can be extended once we're out of this mess.

Well, quite.  I sort of wonder if everyone just needs to repeat a year, though it'd need stuff putting in place to allow a doubled year to work through the system.

If you're primary school age, wasting a year isn't much of a concern as long as it's caught back up later.  Plenty of teenagers and young adults waste more than that before getting their life properly "on track".

Post edited at 15:50
4
 wintertree 29 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

> I don't even know where to start with that..  

By doing the same as all the other teachers - get yourself into the classroom regardless of risk, and take yourself off somewhere quiet to die if you get Covid because education is more important and the hospitals are full, so w'ere just going to triage the ones that get it  bad as they're clearly "vulnerable" and so worth less than education.

Of course, if we loose many teachers too Covid that way, that's going to severely disrupt education.

It's almost as if the poster hasn't thought this through at all and is a bit slow, or they have thought it through and they're sticking to simple, emotional messages because they have the best chance of flying in the face of both evidence and logic.

3
 Andy Johnson 29 Dec 2020
In reply to mattmurphy:

> No schools shouldn’t close under any circumstance.

> The education of children is more important than the lives of the old and vulnerable.

> We must either put in other measures to suppress  Covid transmission or we just have to accept hospital capacity will be breached and set out what the triage criteria will be.

Your profile says you're a 29 year old student, so I'm guessing you don't have much skin in this game - like actually having secondary school age children.

Tbh you sound dangerously naive. Get a clue before its too late.

Post edited at 16:00
4
 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> By doing the same as all the other teachers - get yourself into the classroom regardless of risk

Looking at cases in secondary schools in Swale,  Medway and then Basildon before Christmas I think the new variant has changed this significantly for teachers.

 mattmurphy 29 Dec 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> I know that this has been explained to you before, but this isn't just - or even primarily - about the old and those otherwise vulnerable to Covid.

> How many children need treatment in hospitals for reasons other than Covid?  How many of their parents?  how many of their teachers?  It's about all these people.

So make space for these people. That’s what triage is about. Prioritising those who medical intervention will make the most difference.

You only run into problems if you expect hospitals to prioritise Covid above everything else. 

> Do you promise not to argue against any of them, at all, if they are enacted? 

It depends on what they are. Have you considered what happens if we can’t get the r below 1 with schools closed?

> I'm sure those people advocating a system to prioritise deaths will have no problem with their name going at the top of the list, regardless of why they may need medical care.  If they're not, I don't have any time for their views - someone willing to throw others under the bus before themselves has no place in the kind of society I want to live in.

It’s not an ideal situation, but we’re in a global pandemic. My case of Covid was like a weird cold, so I’m unlikely to need medical care for that, but as I said above, Covid shouldn’t be prioritised ahead of other conditions.

> Finally - this has been discussed many, many times, but the fastest way to beat the virus is to go hard and early with control measures.  It's looking like this variant may spread more across all demographics including children - thus putting teachers at greater risk.  Class isolation orders were disrupting education severely in many places towards the end of last term.  If temporarily closing schools is part of the fastest and best way to get schools permanently reopened for all, and if you believe in the paramount importance of education, how can you argue against that?

Hard and fast has worked once - in New Zealand. Everywhere it’s failed. It’s the nature of exponential growth that once you drive it down it just pops back up.

> Resources can and should be thrown at keeping education running with less occupancy in schools, prioritising keeping the children in school whose home environment doesn't support remote learning.  

I agree with this.

> It's telling that you go straight to "make choices that will kill the old and vulnerable" rather than considering what can and should be done in the middle ground.

I wouldn’t say closing schools is the middle ground. It’s an extreme solution that damages the future chances of children.

33
 wintertree 29 Dec 2020
In reply to mattmurphy:

> You only run into problems if you expect hospitals to prioritise Covid above everything else. 

Not true if you have problems with symptom free transmission and failure of infection control clobbering other patients - who are usually at enhanced vulnerability hence being in hospital. This was a serious problem before this new, more transmissible variant emerged.

> It depends on what they are. Have you considered what happens if we can’t get the r below 1 with schools closed?

Less bad things than if R is higher still.  I think if we can't get R below 1 with schools close we're in for a wave of self-imposed lockdowns as parents and teachers refuse to engage with the school system.  It was happening before the March lockdown, and it will happen again.  The disruption will be more chaotic.  We'll also have bigger problems than schools to face.

> It’s not an ideal situation, but we’re in a global pandemic. My case of Covid was like a weird cold, so I’m unlikely to need medical care for that, but as I said above, Covid shouldn’t be prioritised ahead of other conditions.

Yes.  If I recall correctly you also told me that immunity was guaranteed because you and your brother licked each other, so forgive me if I give no credibility to your tendency to generalise from your personal experiences to everyone else.

> Hard and fast has worked once - in New Zealand. Everywhere it’s failed.

It's not really been tried in that many places.  It's not a binary thing, and the sooner we make harder cuts, the better.  The later, the worse.  Here we are once again going as late as possible.

> I wouldn’t say closing schools is the middle ground. It’s an extreme solution that damages the future chances of children.

It's a middle ground.   As I said before:  If temporarily closing schools is part of the fastest and best way to get schools permanently reopened for all, and if you believe in the paramount importance of education, how can you argue against that?

You didn't engage with that comment.

To add - Jr is looking forwards to going back to school in January (their second term ever) and it's going to break their heart if they can't.  My partner and I both have jobs and worked full time throughout lockdown 1.0 from home whilst providing child care and pre-school education.  It was exhausting and I've not worked so hard so consistently in my life.  If we have to do that again, we will.

Post edited at 16:10
2
 Bacon Butty 29 Dec 2020
In reply to mattmurphy:

> No schools shouldn’t close under any circumstance.

etc, etc. etc....

Hahaha, I don't know if you're actually serious or taking the piss (I'm not checking your posting history), but just to respond to your crazed position ...

Why not just get rid of the NHS altogether, only the fit and healthy live, why waste money fixing broken people.  Think of the £BILLIONS you'd save every year, imagine the tax breaks you could give yourselves, all that extra cash you could invest into Club 18-30.

2
 marsbar 29 Dec 2020
In reply to wintertree:

Its times like these where I really really appreciate that my life circumstances, combined with my lack of interest in flashy cars and my traditional upbringing when it comes to money (I don't buy what I cant afford and my only debt is mortgage) mean that I was able to leave the contracts behind and go on supply. 

I worked up until mid December in schools with good and well applied protocols, I refused to return to one where I wasn't supported in having windows open and another where children were blatantly ignoring mask rules.  

I'm strongly considering taking a couple of months off and certainly won't be going to schools that haven't got extremely good measures in place, along with the leadership and management to ensure that they are actually being implemented.  

6
In reply to marsbar:

Seems the UK won't have a choice. Everyone shopped with a view to a 5 day Xmas, and pick up covid, then they still allowed folk 1 day at Xmas to give covid to each other, plus some sales shopping. Add in a bit of secret new years eve covid swapping parties and by the 2nd week of January there won't be many people who don't have covid.  

1
 Offwidth 29 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

The sensible approach would be to prioritise schooling of disadvantaged kids and/or essential workers who can't afford childcare. It's a complete myth missing school disadvantages all kids: its only the poor who really suffer educationally from missed classes. Schools have to close anyhow when infection rates get too high.

1
 marsbar 29 Dec 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

I have taught kids who had parents sell school property. (Heroin users usually) They are very much the same kids who would already be expected to be in school as vulnerable so hopefully that won't be an issue.  

If parents put their own issues above their child's educational needs to the point where they are committing a criminal offence it should in theory be fairly straightforward to get the police and social services involved. After all if they are doing that, they probably don't care if their kid gets fed either.  

 Fozzy 29 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

Since September, I’ve quite often been fearful when I go into work.
I’ve got colleagues who’ve been very ill with C19, including some unable to return despite starting being sick months ago (And am currently awaiting test results as I’ve got symptoms myself).

Being told to wear a mask and keep windows open is like putting a plaster on an arterial bleed; it doesn’t take into account the 26-30 kids in the room not wearing masks, not washing their hands properly and not socially distancing at all out of the classroom. 
Teaching online isn’t optimal, and for some children is not at all suitable, but I’ve got to the stage now where  I really do feel we’ve got to put the health of all before the education of some, which isn’t a statement I’d ever think I’d be making. 

 fred99 29 Dec 2020
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > The education of children is more important than the lives of the old and vulnerable.

..... Do you want to be the healthcare professional that has to say "sorry, Mr Murphy, were going to leave you to die".

Maybe if a few of these "Murphys" who advocate just carrying on were left to die (whilst the rest of us were treated) it might wake the rest up to realise what a load of cobblers they're spouting.

2
In reply to Fozzy:

> Teaching online isn’t optimal, and for some children is not at all suitable, but I’ve got to the stage now where  I really do feel we’ve got to put the health of all before the education of some, which isn’t a statement I’d ever think I’d be making. 

I think a reasonable way of putting it is that you can catch up on education when you've potentially got between 50 and 90 years ahead of you - plenty of people (e.g. my Dad) leave school with near enough nothing at all and catch up later, let alone just losing one year - but you can't come back to life if you're dead.  I've thought that all along, to be honest.

Post edited at 17:59
 fred99 29 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

> I worked up until mid December in schools with good and well applied protocols, I refused to return to one where I wasn't supported in having windows open and another where children were blatantly ignoring mask rules. 

A mate of mine has done exactly the same - sooner or later such schools will be forced to close due to there being no-one left to do the teaching.

(Unless Matt Murphy wants the job ??? - and the exposure to CV-19).

In reply to fred99:

> A mate of mine has done exactly the same - sooner or later such schools will be forced to close due to there being no-one left to do the teaching.

That I believe is how they mostly closed in March - they mostly had already closed before the Government declared them closed, as they had run out of teachers to operate safely (by normal standards, let alone COVID ones).

 wintertree 29 Dec 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> That I believe is how they mostly closed in March - they mostly had already closed before the Government declared them closed, as they had run out of teachers to operate safely (by normal standards, let alone COVID ones).

Yes. The wave of school closures due to staff absence around here was quite something in the run up to the first lockdown.  Mr Murphy is living in la la land if he thinks sufficient staff are just going to keep going to school in a reasonable worse case scenario.   I see he hasn’t engaged with my point that earlier, planned closures could see the total disruption to education reduced.
 

Post edited at 18:04
 elsewhere 29 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

The news is looking bad - hospital bed occupancy due to Covid higher than during the first wave in the spring but new cases are rising steeply (incomplete xmas data) so we can expect pressure on NHS to rise.

In reply to marsbar:

My brother works in a school for kids excluded from mainstream education  and following covid rules the number of kids they can deal with is massively reduced, so some poor soul in social services has to decide who are most vulnerable and aren't best left at home with their feckless parents. (It's the kind of place where they normally board Mon to fri). It will likely end in disaster where covid19 is potentially a better alternative. 

Post edited at 18:36
1
 marsbar 29 Dec 2020
In reply to summo:

Ridiculous.  Places like that should be a priority for additional space and staffing.  

Yet another argument against the selling off of schools.  

In the past all the schools would have been run by the LEA and arrangements to use other buildings and redeploy staff around would have been possible.  

I'd quite like to see all the Ofsted inspectors redeployed to the front line right now.  

Equally I'd suggest that especially feckless parents need dealing with.  But apparently that's too right wing.  Makes a change from people complaining about my lefty views I suppose.  

Post edited at 18:47
 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to summo:

Presumably they can still attend during the day? I've done a bit of work in PRU's, so one step down, excluded pupils but not residential. Social distancing with 6 students in a classroom should be easier than 36 but only if they can stay in their seats.

In reply to marsbar:

I think it's as much the internal size of the eating, living and shower areas etc.. it's newish but a very compact and efficient design. No good for distancing. Not helped that some of the kids are feral, fighting, spitting etc.. is pretty frequent. Not necessarily the kids fault, most of their childhoods have been seriously lacking in many respects. 

Post edited at 18:51
1
In reply to RobAJones:

> Presumably they can still attend during the day? I've done a bit of work in PRU's, so one step down, excluded pupils but not residential. Social distancing with 6 students in a classroom should be easier than 36 but only if they can stay in their seats.

Yeah it is balancing act on what they can cope with, whilst still being safe for staff and kids, (as in physically safe, not covid safe).

1
 fred99 29 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

> Ridiculous.  Places like that should be a priority for additional space and staffing.  

I doubt that you could just transplant such a facility to another location too easily.

Even if you could, very few teachers are able, let alone willing, to teach at such a facility.

 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to summo:

Yep, a friend who is head at what sounds like a similar school has taken the opposite approach, for that reason. The kids don't go home at all. So the covid measures are more like those at a care home than a school, the parents who can be bothered to visit (after taxis have been organised for them) do so under supervision.

 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to fred99:

> Even if you could, very few teachers are able, let alone willing, to teach at such a facility.

Perhaps mattmurphy could help out at weekends?

 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

> I'd quite like to see all the Ofsted inspectors redeployed to the front line right now.  

Completely agree, their excuse, it is unsafe for them to go into schools???

 baron 29 Dec 2020
In reply to RobAJones:

> Completely agree, their excuse, it is unsafe for them to go into schools???

Aren’t inspectors contracted by OFSTED for individual inspections?  i.e. they don’t work for OFSTED full time. 

 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to baron:

Most are temporary inspectors (70%?) but there are over 1000 full time ones.

edit and  443 HMI's

Post edited at 19:54
 baron 29 Dec 2020
In reply to RobAJones:

> Most are temporary inspectors (70%?) but there are over 1000 full time ones.

I stand corrected. 
And they earn £75,000.

Get them into schools!

1
 Fozzy 29 Dec 2020
In reply to baron:

> I stand corrected. 

> And they earn £75,000.

> Get them into schools!

They are welcome to my Tuesday p1/p2 yr9s. 

In reply to marsbar:

My opinion (I am rather opinionated to be fair). We need a real lockdown. No one leaves the house at all unless designated as a essential key worker. Keep this in place until enough of the population has been vaccinated that it is safe to unlock again. 

Kids can do an extra year of school, it won't hurt them to finish at 19 instead of 18.

It will hurt the economy but I think it will be better in the long run than the half arsed stop start that we are doing now. 

Every day I'm out on site seeing people ignoring distancing rules, the most prevalent being 2 or 3 people in 1 van, no masks or windows open. Start pulling them over and slap them and the company with big fines. 

For the vaccination order, essential workers first, make sure the NHS can look after the sick, make sure the power, water and gas keeps flowing, make sure the police and fire can respond. Teachers though vital would be further down the list because education will be on pause. They would be the top of the list when the schools were due to go back though. 

None of this will happen though, we will carry dicing around and half arsing it in the hope that the vaccination program rolls out fast enough to prevent collapse of our vital services. 

5
In reply to marsbar:

No. Here’s some thoughts:

Majority of primary schools have been fine, so that’s 7 year groups (60%). Yes, there have been bubble closures, but the system has worked. Children of this age are often more vulnerable and need school for other reasons. And there is a childcare issue provided by primary schools  

Secondary schools are an issue and have been a big area of Covid spread.  They account for 5 year groups. Measures discussed above (rotating attendance, books and traditional resources, better tech) would help, as would longer school holidays in winter (made up by shorter in summer). 

A while back, the majority of teachers did NIT support unions in shutting schools and most children want them open.

Supermarkets are a big problem, and just read 25% of hospital covid cases are caught in hospitals so these areas need to be improved  

 jonfun21 29 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

If schools are to shut then the home schooling provision needs to be substantially upgraded vs lockdown in my experience (clearly my sample size is one school, but other friends experienced similar)

Both my kids are primary age and a 20 minute video call and a short worksheet each day really isn’t sufficient.

As well as the the divide that’s created between parents who “do home school” and those who “can’t/choose not to” the private school vs public school gulf accelerated further - friends/colleagues with kids at private saw an near immediate shift to full time online teaching/interaction.

I am really hoping primary schools stay open as not sure we (wife and I) could manage it again and both keep our jobs and our mental health.

Post edited at 21:35
 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to mick taylor:

> No. Here’s some thoughts:

> Majority of primary schools have been fine, so that’s 7 year groups (60%). Yes, there have been bubble closures, but the system has worked. Children of this age are often more vulnerable and need school for other reasons. And there is a childcare issue provided by primary schools  

I agree that in general primaries have suffered less. Probably younger students being less like to transmit (not sure about new strain) and it is certainly easier for primaries to operate with smaller bubbles. A local secondary had to send more students home than the primary where a student tested positive? Due to staff having kids in the bubble. 

> Secondary schools are an issue and have been a big area of Covid spread.  They account for 5 year groups. Measures discussed above (rotating attendance, books and traditional resources, better tech) would help, as would longer school holidays in winter (made up by shorter in summer). 

In general I agree, but think it is now too late to do this effectively, it should have been in place since September.

> A while back, the majority of teachers did NIT support unions in shutting schools and most children want them open.

Teaching unions are crap at communicating with the general public, virtually everyone I know wants schools to be open as much as possible, but as has often been said on here prompt decisive action leads to better outcomes in the long run.

> Supermarkets are a big problem, and just read 25% of hospital covid cases are caught in hospitals so these areas need to be improved  

I'm all in favour of limiting supermarket shop to once a week/fortnight  per household and only one person at a time.

 SAF 29 Dec 2020
In reply to Dax H:

> Kids can do an extra year of school, it won't hurt them to finish at 19 instead of 18.

For small children in primary and pre school, the brain is developing rapidly and socialisation is more important as learning to read and write. You can't delay neuro development by a year and re do it next year, it doesn't work like that.

My daughter is nearly 3, if this all carries on until April she will have spent a 3rd of her life under some sort of lockdown or heavy restrictions (Wales). Her playgroup is attached to a primary school, so if that closes then so does her playgroup. Outside of playgroup she barely gets to see any one but me and her dad, she is an only child.

It is very concerning, she won't get this time back in terms of her development.

I don't think the decision to close schools should be taken lightly. It should be the absolute last thing to close and for the shortest possible time, and it should be done area by area as case numbers dictate, not blanket closures.

6
 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to SAF:

Not sure the Finns or people who choose to home educate would agree?

4
 SAF 29 Dec 2020
In reply to RobAJones:

> Not sure the Finns or people who choose to home educate would agree?

But under normal circumstances their kids aren't being kept at home isolated from family, friends, unable to learn to swim or go to the zoo etc. There is a huge difference.

1
 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to jonfun21:

> As well as the the divide that’s created between parents who “do home school” and those who “can’t/choose not to” the private school vs public school gulf accelerated further 

As you acknowledge there is a big difference in the way some state schools responded to online learning. On the other side I've had parents complain of the stress their kids felt because of the amount of work set.I 'm not sure the private/public gulf was accelerated , it just became more visible. On average private kids have 3 times the resources spent on them.

 jonfun21 29 Dec 2020
In reply to RobAJones:

Agree - was noticeable how much faster they adapted but as you say 3 x the finance has a massive impact normally and probably more so in these times.

 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to jonfun21:

They are also under more pressure to do what the parents demand, but the money isn't always spent effectively. A friend works in the private school sector, back in April the parent's weren't happy with PE's suggestion that the kids followed Joe Wicks workout and wanted the PE teachers to "work" and send bespoke lessons. Predictably the PE staff recorded themselves following Joe's workout and sent that to the kids?? 

 RobAJones 29 Dec 2020
In reply to SAF:

> But under normal circumstances their kids aren't being kept at home isolated from family, friends, unable to learn to swim or go to the zoo etc. 

I agree, where possible outside, if we hadn't opened bars/restaurants/allowed foreign holidays/(schools??) they could have done this for longer.

 Fozzy 29 Dec 2020
In reply to RobAJones:

One of the local private schools gives staff their own laptop & iPad to use. 
There’s nothing on offer for us, and as such, we are expected to use our own computers (if we’ve got them, which I don’t) or go into work to use computers there, which isn’t really viable if you’ve got your own kids off school to look after. 

Post edited at 22:50
 wintertree 29 Dec 2020
In reply to SAF:

> I don't think the decision to close schools should be taken lightly. It should be the absolute last thing to close and for the shortest possible time

As I said to another poster, closing schools sooner may *reduce* the total amount of time that schools have to be closed for.

Schools should be closed for the minimum necessary time; that’s different to closing them last.  Totally different.

1
In reply to baron:

> I stand corrected. 

> And they earn £75,000.

> Get them into schools!

Now here's something I can get behind. 

In reply to SAF:

> For small children in primary and pre school, the brain is developing rapidly and socialisation is more important as learning to read and write.

I see you must have missed a portion of your neuro development.... :P

1
 RobAJones 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Fozzy:

It winds me up when I read that we spend as much on education as most other countries in western Europe. We do, but only if you include private school fees, so the most privileged 6% of students get nearly 20% of the money spent on education.  

The DFE like to include university tuition fees as well, so they can claim we actually spend more than anyone else.

 Martin Hore 30 Dec 2020
In reply to mattmurphy:

> Hard and fast has worked once - in New Zealand. Everywhere it’s failed. It’s the nature of exponential growth that once you drive it down it just pops back up.

As far as I'm aware, proper "hard and fast" has only been tried in New Zealand, where it has worked. As an island, it might well have worked here in GB, except that we don't have a PM with the respect, integrity and moral authority to lead such an approach. 

Martin

1
 elsewhere 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Martin Hore:

> As far as I'm aware, proper "hard and fast" has only been tried in New Zealand, where it has worked. As an island, it might well have worked here in GB, except that we don't have a PM with the respect, integrity and moral authority to lead such an approach. 

> Martin

NZ is not unique.

Australia*, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and probably others I don't know about have all successfully gone for elimination reducing daily new cases of community transmission to as low as zero. They all inevitably have sporadic cases. 

*currently struggling but still a hundred times fewer new daily cases than UK so not a bad result for attempting elimination

Post edited at 11:18
1
 wbo2 30 Dec 2020
In reply to mattmurphy: Fast and hard is very difficult to do.  One thing is for sure though, slow, dithery and inconsistent is a sure fire way to cause maximum economic damage by dragging this out for an unnecessarily long time.  

Allowing the virus to let rip and having the hospitals be overrun, with maximum casualties, is just childish nonsense.  You might consider also that while you might reduce some short term economic hit the long term impact on plague island as a stable and good place to invest might take a bit of a hit.

1
 wintertree 30 Dec 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> As I said to another poster, closing schools sooner may *reduce* the total amount of time that schools have to be closed for.

> Schools should be closed for the minimum necessary time; that’s different to closing them last.  Totally different.

Neither SAF nor Matt Murphy are going to address this point then?  Telling...

2
 SAF 30 Dec 2020
In reply to bouldery bits:

> I see you must have missed a portion of your neuro development.... :P

Sorry I'm too exhausted to pick up an tiny error when I went back and slightly changed my post, guess it might have something to do with the relentlessness of caring for a small bored child with barely any assistance or facilities at my disposal!!

 SAF 30 Dec 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> Neither SAF nor Matt Murphy are going to address this point then?  Telling...

Busy looking after a small child!! 

 Fozzy 30 Dec 2020
In reply to RobAJones:

I’ve given a lot of thought to going to work in private schools, and have spoken to friends who do. From what I’ve gleaned, the resources are excellent, class sizes much smaller and behaviour is (mostly) exceptional. However, the pressure from SLT & parents is insane at times. 
I was invited to go for a ‘walk around & a chat’ at a local prep school by the head at the start of the year but haven’t been able to take him up on the offer yet due to C19 restrictions. I’m still tempted though. 

1
In reply to elsewhere:

> NZ is not unique.

> Australia*, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and probably others I don't know about have all successfully gone for elimination reducing daily new cases of community transmission to as low as zero. They all inevitably have sporadic cases. 

All of those are self-contained islands of various sizes.  You could have done it in the island of Great Britain, though.

 RobAJones 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Fozzy:

From talking to friends, I would say your assessment is correct. I'm not sure how covid will affect the private sector. Initially they were concerned both with the possible economic impact of parents being able to afford the fees and/or wanting to pay for online teaching. I don't think think has been as bad as they feared and in fact they are now hoping for an increase in numbers. I'm not sure about this, I think there might be an increase is the private tutoring market as more parents invest in their children "catching up" but don't think many will go as far as private schools. The other factor to consider is the pension system. Although the TPS is no where near as good as it used to be it is still much better than nothing. Most private schools are encouraging/forcing their staff to opt out, due to the employer contribution increase. You need to take this in account before accepting a post on what might appear a similar salary.

Post edited at 13:08
 elsewhere 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

Vietnam is an island? I learn something every day.

Managing Covid is about managing community transmission. Borders only become significant source of infection when you have effectively stopped community transmission.

 RobAJones 30 Dec 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> As I said to another poster, closing schools sooner may *reduce* the total amount of time that schools have to be closed for.

Out of interest I looked up when NZ shut schools in March. It was 23rd

Based on 14 positive tests the previous day?

22 March 2020

Today we have 14 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed by laboratory test in New Zealand.

Locations are: Auckland 5, Northland 1, Christchurch 1, New Plymouth 2, Waikato 3 (including 1 in Hamilton), Tauranga 1, Dunedin 1.

They have essentially been fully open since 11th May. 

In reply to elsewhere:

> Vietnam is an island? I learn something every day.

Sorry, missed one

Vietnam is a very poor country and I suspect minus the tourists coming in there is almost no international travel going on.

> Managing Covid is about managing community transmission. Borders only become significant source of infection when you have effectively stopped community transmission.

Yes, but borders are very significant if you want complete elimination and the ability to remove other restrictions, which is the main benefit of doing it.  Going for elimination is much harder than going for a low level bubbling away in the background.

Post edited at 13:26
 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to elsewhere:

If countries aren't managing community transmission then other countries will quite sensibly close their borders.  Like many have done to us. 

If we had closed borders before all those ski trips at the end of February and beginning of March maybe we would be having a very different conversation now.  

In reply to mattmurphy:

> No schools shouldn’t close under any circumstance.

> The education of children is more important than the lives of the old and vulnerable.

> We must either put in other measures to suppress  Covid transmission or we just have to accept hospital capacity will be breached and set out what the triage criteria will be.

What I would really love is for a region of the UK to be designated for all the people with your utterly stupid viewpoint. You could put in place all the policies you promote with an equal share of national resources, and then the rest of us could watch you on reality TV. It would be black humour, but my god it would be hilarious.

2
 elsewhere 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Sorry, missed one

> Vietnam is a very poor country and I suspect minus the tourists coming in there is almost no international travel going on.

A bit like the UK then. There's not much international tourism going on.

I think when they tested lorry drivers stuck at Dover trying to get to France there were thirty* ish cases in a few thousand. That's nothing compared to a million(s) infected in the community (14 days infected times fifty thousand per day new cases so my VERY VERY VERY rough guess).

*36 positive cases, 15,000 drivers tested.

> Yes, but borders are very significant if you want complete elimination and the ability to remove other restrictions, which is the main benefit of doing it.  Going for elimination is much harder than going for a low level bubbling away in the background.

Or much easier. You can do track & trace on tens of cases per day. You can't do track & trace on 50,000 new cases per day.

Post edited at 13:37
 wintertree 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Have you ever read "Coventry", a short story from Robert Heinlein written in 1940? 

I think Heinlein is often mischaracterised as a libertarian because he wrote several novels that were popular in such circles, but that is to misunderstand him.  He would pick a perspective, and write from it.  For any extreme perspective that he is labelled with for one story, he has a counterpoint story.  He would use science fiction as the means to explore the social side of a particular view point.

"Coventry" was a very good counter-point to the libertarian fantasy.  

1
 ClimberEd 30 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

No need for your rather tasteless sarcasm.

My partners school has a magical force field obviously works as she is a teacher in a primary school and they had no cases, guess at/tested/confirmed/off sick/hospitalised/pick your own yardstick, at all last term. 

Yes schools should stay open. If anything universities should be next in line to be shut. 

10
In reply to elsewhere:

> A bit like the UK then. There's not much international tourism going on.

Now there isn't, but there was loads back in the summer when there was a real opportunity to eliminate with a potentially very short lockdown.

1
 wintertree 30 Dec 2020
In reply to ClimberEd:

> No need for your rather tasteless sarcasm.

No need for your judgemental dismissal of the OP.  Especially as I think you have it wrong about sarcasm.

"Magical force field" is pretty apt in some ways - transmission in school aged children had been well below that in other ages it seems, and the new variant has apparently demolished that distinction at least for secondaries / sixth forms.

Back in the summer you started a thread to ask why should pubs close to balance schools opening, as you didn't see any link, then you dismissed all the informed views given.  The thread was in The Pub so it's gone.  You didn’t seem to understand that each setting with transmission adds to R, and that opening a new setting (schools) could tip R into growth needing a closure elsewhere to prevent runaway exponential growth.

Not the first time you’ve used an attack on the way someone is posting to dismiss them.  In both cases the other poster was someone working directly in the area under discussion.

So, forgive me but I have far more time for a teacher on this thread than for you.

Before you launch into your whine about me referencing other threads “unfairly” remember that the personal attack you used to dismiss the view of someone else a few months ago was... based around referencing a post of theirs on a previous thread.

Post edited at 14:03
In reply to ClimberEd:

> My partners school has a magical force field obviously works as she is a teacher in a primary school and they had no cases, guess at/tested/confirmed/off sick/hospitalised/pick your own yardstick, at all last term. 

I think it's becoming clear that, as teenagers are in most ways physically adults (even if they mentally aren't), there's a lot of difference between the spread caused by 7 year olds and the spread caused by 14 year olds, certainly with the new variant.

Post edited at 13:56
In reply to RobAJones:

> Although the TPS is no where near as good as it used to be

Have placements been eroded, or has the overall grade reduced?

In reply to elsewhere:

> NZ is not unique.

> Australia*, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore and probably others I don't know about have all successfully gone for elimination reducing daily new cases of community transmission to as low as zero. They all inevitably have sporadic cases. 

Let's look closer to home shall we? Isle of Man & Guernsey. Both locked down properly, both eliminated. Guernsey's been completely unrestricted internally since early summer, Isle of Man virtually the same. The two islands set up an 'air bridge' between them with no restrictions other than mask use on the plane I think. Guernsey has been seeing sporadic cases since the autumn with virtually all caught whilst in the 2 week self-isolation period. One outbreak was caught by t&t. Elimination is entirely possible, you just need to actually want to do it. It's even easier if your neighbours also do it (because you don't import cases from them).

Post edited at 14:04
 RobAJones 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Guilty of using acronyms. I was referring to the teachers pension scheme moving form a final salary to a career average in 2015.  

 ClimberEd 30 Dec 2020
In reply to wintertree:

I understand it all very well. What you don't seem to understand is that we reach different conclusions from the same information. 

And yes, it was a judgemental dismissal, I think there was a need for it. 

8
 ClimberEd 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I think it's becoming clear that, as teenagers are in most ways physically adults (even if they mentally aren't), there's a lot of difference between the spread caused by 7 year olds and the spread caused by 14 year olds, certainly with the new variant.

Yeah, it seems to be very clear that you can't lump 'schools' together. 

 wintertree 30 Dec 2020
In reply to ClimberEd:

> I understand it all very well.

If you say so...

> What you don't seem to understand is that we reach different conclusions from the same information.

Well only one conclusion can be right.  I understand that.

You never shared your conclusion.  The only one I can infer is you concluded that it would be good to have R>1 which to be fair fits with much of what you’ve advocated for in the past.  

> And yes, it was a judgemental dismissal, I think there was a need for it.

Does that mean you’re going to stop having hissy fits when other posters (not necessarily me) are judgmental about your posts?  ‘Cos that would be handy.

Post edited at 14:22
2
 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to ClimberEd:

I'm the one who has been working in secondary schools to cover teachers who have Covid.  If I want to use sarcasm and dark humour as a coping method I will.  

I'm glad your partner is ok, and it may well be that primary schools are different (although that certainly isn't the case in some areas) but you can stick your judgy attitude.  

 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to ClimberEd:

Here is a list of schools with first cases in the penultimate week of term for one county.  (Lincolnshire Tier 3)

Schools making initial contact over the last seven days (10 – 16 Dec)

Spalding Grammar School 

Old Leake Primary and Nursery School

Sturton by Stow Primary School

Wyberton Primary Academy

South Hykeham Community Primary School

Nettleham Church of England Junior School, Lincoln

Little Gonerby Infant School, Grantham

Osbournby Primary School, Sleaford

The Claypole Church of England Primary School

Coningsby St Michael's Church Of England Primary School

 Boston West Academy (primary)

Westgate Academy, Lincoln (primary)

Westmere Community Primary School, Spalding

The Priory School, Spalding (secondary)

Butterwick Pinchbeck's Endowed Church of England Primary School

Pinchbeck East C of E Primary School

Fortuna School, Lincoln (primary)

Tetney Primary School

Market Deeping Community Primary School

St Faiths Church of England Infant and Nursery School, Lincoln

Whaplode Church of England Primary School

That's 19 primary schools with cases.  It's the first set of data that came up, but I expect I could find others.  

(The majority of Lincolnshire secondary schools will have shown up in previous weeks.)

 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to ClimberEd:

Here is a snapshot from Leicestershire in September 2 weeks after schools went back. 

https://leicestershireupdates.com/list-schools-coronavirus-leicester-leicestershire

5 primary schools and 7 secondary schools.  Presumably not the new variant back then.  

 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to ClimberEd:

I myself spent 2 weeks in early November covering for a teacher whose 7 year old was self isolating along with her class.  

 wintertree 30 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

I wouldn't waste your time digging out evidence.  That poster's view can be summarised as:

  • Spring - we're not going to follow Italy in to an explosion of cases because of stuff like genetics and so on.
  • Summer - let it rip let it rip.  Don't worry, vulnerable folks can be told to protected themselves as best as possible.  Oh look, here's someone working in a care home pointing out that doesn't work, I know I'll trawl through their old threads and use one as a basis of an ad-hom dismissal of their informed view.
  • Summer part 2 - how dare you quote one of my previous threads at me, that's stalking!  (In the same thread where they'd previously done the same).
  • Autumn - I've heard some detrimental rumours on the vaccine and I'm going to spread them but not tell you the source.  Oh okay, it's some experts on a WhatsApp group.
  • Winter - Schools must stay open.

I wouldn't bother arguing with them.  

They write off the professional experiences of posters working in fields they pronounce on, and their contribution throughout could easily be confused for an agenda driven attempt to drive cases up.

Post edited at 15:10
1
 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

I suspect it's more to do with primary schools being generally smaller, covering a smaller catchment area, and teachers mostly teaching their own class as well as more effective space per pupil given that primary kids are smaller.  

Secondary kids are mostly stuffed in small classrooms elbow to elbow.  

 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to wintertree:

I am concerned that people generally think primary schools are ok.  They are not as bad a secondary schools, but with a possibly easier to transmit virus they are far from safe.  

My niece in France as I mentioned before wears a mask all day (clean one after lunch) and was until recently in a half size class on a rota.  She is primary.  

1
 wintertree 30 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

> I am concerned that people generally think primary schools are ok. 

I think you have a good point with the differences between primary and secondary schools. 

> They are not as bad a secondary schools, but with a possibly easier to transmit virus they are far from safe.  

I'm hoping that some good preliminary studies emerge very soon from the data in the regions "leading" with the new variant.  The recent pre-print from LSHTM suggested that increased transmission in schools was not the primary driver of the lockdown-busting cases which is a promising start.  The demographic cases data for London suggests the new variant is spreading in all ages.  

We'll see what Williamson says.  I support what ever action is going to reduce the total impact to education, and I don't for one minute think that necessarily translates to "schools must stay open for all to attend in-person" across the country.  

Post edited at 15:26
 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to wintertree:

The other thing I forgot which is protective in primary schools is that it is easier to train and police the hand washing routines etc.  

However as I said there is a large  secondary I've been in which is successfully supervising 3 times a day handwashing and sanitizing at multiple points during the day when washing isn't possible.  

 lithos 30 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

I’d be interested to know how you (and others) would answer your original question (which got digressed by mattmurphys hard line view) given the discussion.
I’m clear: schools open for most pupils.  

1
 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to mick taylor:

My view is that we should shut all schools for the first 2 weeks of term to all but keyworker and vulnerable children with proper online lessons, and paper alternatives for those who can’t internet, (or maybe have those who can’t internet in school).  This opinion is for England and the badly hit parts of South Wales.  I’m not up to date with the current situation in Scotland and elsewhere in Wales to say.

During those 2 weeks organise testing and a rota system for having pupils in school so that children are in school half the week and learning online half the week to enable social distancing between pupils.  

Bring in or redeploy suitable people to supervise children learning socially distanced in local community settings where possible, village halls, libraries, Scout huts etc etc.  This would mean someone supervising the children where parents cannot, but the usual teachers remain responsible for learning and setting work.  

All of these things should help avoid the situation parents here have been dealing with bubbles of hundreds of children being sent home to isolate repeatedly and should also help prevent schools having so many teachers off.  

Post edited at 16:44
 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
 elsewhere 30 Dec 2020
In reply to lithos:

Supposing every single one of those hundreds were infected...

...it's still bugger all compared to 50,000 new cases daily within the UK.

In reply to marsbar:

You make some great points about organising testing, rotas etc. 

If you think our powers that be can arrange all that in 2 weeks you have a lot more faith in them than me. 

We are give or take 10 months in to this pandemic and so far they have arranged diddly bugger all. Some stuff has happened but I suspect more by accident than design. 

In reply to ClimberEd:

Where abouts are you? In my part of Derbyshire at the school where I teach, most of the bubbles (year groups) have been out at least once, and we're an area that hasn't been to badly hit. We've done quite well on teachers not having to self isolate, the nearby secondary my kids go to had to send lots of kids home at the end of term when loads of teachers were self isolating, and there weren't enough staff to teach everyone.

 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Dax H:

I have no faith in the powers that be, but I do know that with a bit of time many of our headteachers have done amazing things already.  

 Si dH 30 Dec 2020
In reply to marsbar:

My brother and his wife are both primary teachers at different schools in London. In December they both had to self isolate (for an overlapping period of a week when they were both isolating) due to people in the two schools who tested positive (they didn't catch it.) They were both supposed to teach their classes remotely from home, presumably with a classroom assistant in the room with the class. Unfortunately they found this wasn't possible for the week they were both off, because their internet connection wasn't fast enough to manage them both teaching at the same time. They ended up alternating with one class having their teacher for one hour, another at a different school for the next hour, then back to the first again. Presumably with a classroom assistant to fill in the gaps at each. It all sounded a bit farcical to me.

Post edited at 17:25
In reply to marsbar:

I am totally f*ckin seething having read that article. My daughter is doing performing arts and yesterday, following an email from the college, has arranged for a covid test on Sunday. We are driving back Saturday. But that article says she won’t be going back. Her term would normally start Monday so they effectively given us f*ck all notice. We’ve known for ages that cases have been rising. But, as others have said, it does appear to be their strategy: leave it soo late that there is only one decision to make.  
If they are going to delay returning then for many students the only realistic solution is to extend the academic year. 

 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to mick taylor:

I really do sympathise, but to be totally honest I’m surprised you’ve had even a few days notice. I fully expected this announcement to drop late Friday afternoon.  

I know it’s not good for the kids, but nor was the situation in December.  It was so unsettling and worrying for children in schools.  Plenty of groups saw 5 different supply teachers in a day.  Kids were being removed from classes one at a time to be sent home to isolate.  Very disruptive all round.  There comes a point where it is less disruptive to have them all at home and I think sadly we have reached that.  

 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to Si dH:

It may sound farcical but for many pupils seeing their own teachers is very reassuring.  

 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to mick taylor:

The "small number" of areas where primary schools will be shut (presumably to all but key workers and vulnerable)?

London

Barking and Dagenham

Barnet

Bexley

Brent

Bromley

Croydon

Ealing

Enfield

Hammersmith and Fulham

Havering

Hillingdon

Hounslow

Kensington and Chelsea

Merton

Newham

Richmond-Upon-Thames

Southwark

Sutton

Tower Hamlets

Waltham Forest

Wandsworth

Westminster

Essex

Brentwood

Epping Forest

Castle Point

Basildon

Rochford

Harlow

Chelmsford

Braintree

Maldon

Southend on Sea

Thurrock

Kent

Dartford

Gravesham

Sevenoaks

Medway

Ashford

Maidstone

Tonbridge and Malling

Tunbridge Wells

Swale

East Sussex

Hastings

Rother

Buckinghamshire

Milton Keynes

Hertfordshire

Watford

Broxbourne

Hertsmere

Three Rivers

In reply to marsbar:

I think we may be getting crossed wires: my (current) annoyance is that my 21 year old daughter, according to the article, will be told that her term won’t start on Monday. She’s going back to start her degree assessments (practicals) which have been amended to be covid safe etc. But we will see. Perhaps her college knew this was a likely outcome so they arranged for her to go back before this news came out. 

In reply to SAF:

> Sorry I'm too exhausted to pick up an tiny error when I went back and slightly changed my post, guess it might have something to do with the relentlessness of caring for a small bored child with barely any assistance or facilities at my disposal!!

No worries. I was only being silly and totally understand your pain!

Looking forward to getting my 30 7-8 year olds back next week!! 

BB

 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to mick taylor:

I'd assume a degree student would come under university rules not college rules.  I presume that college in the article meant 16 to 19 colleges.  I could be wrong though.  

I'd also assume the college will have heard about this today not yesterday.  

In reply to marsbar:

This is like a list of places I avoid! 

I hope it works and keeps lots of people safe. 

In reply to marsbar:

Just re read the article and it has changed. The original made specific reference to universities and specifically mentioned performing arts as NOT going back early as originally planned. 

 marsbar 30 Dec 2020
In reply to mick taylor:

I didn’t see that bit.  They do change things.  I’m sorry it’s disrupting your daughters degree.   

Post edited at 21:35
 RobAJones 01 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Having read this and seen the rise in cases in 12-18 year old's that the statement was based on I'm pleased that, like you, I don't have  go in next term.

Mr Cox said that the patterns associated with the spread of cases in Eden is "very different to anything seen before".

He said the district has been experiencing a number of outbreaks in which a "very large proportion" of the people who could be affected end up testing positive for Covid-19.

"50 per cent of a workplace, for example, might end up being off with Covid," Mr Cox said.

He added that a number of outbreaks had arisen recently in workplaces, schools and care homes across the Eden district, which had been driving the rise in cases.

The possibility therefore that the return of schoolchildren to the classroom in January may contribute towards a further rise in cases is a "concern" for Mr Cox.

"We've seen in Eden in particular that a lot of the transmission we were seeing was associated with schools," he said.

1
 wintertree 01 Jan 2021
In reply to RobAJones:

Sounds like things are going sideways in  Eden?

If there’s one lesson from the outbreak and loss of control of this new variant to be learnt immediately, it’s that any area getting it much worse than it’s neighbours needs immediate and pro-active measures until the cause of the disparity is understood.

1
 RobAJones 01 Jan 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Yep, it had spread to  Carlisle in the last week of term and Allerdale after that. I think I made the point up thread that the whole country should have been in tier 4 as soon as the more infectious new variant was identified. My concern with the new variant is that previously, during last term, there were 2 major and 3 (I know of) minor outbreaks in schools locally (super spreaders?) but in general after a child tested positive it was rare for other positive tests in the bubble. So windows open, masks, hand washing seemed to work. In all the schools outbreaks (4, I know of) in Eden several other students subsequently tested positive. I'm not confident that secnondary stuents will be back in school on the 18th.

1
In reply to marsbar:

I can’t see how secondary schools and ‘unis’ can be open in January. May be February if things get a bit better by then. Primary schools are in theory less of an issue and closing them is more disruptive but even they have had to close in high incidence areas. Education is a priority, to a point. That point is the collapse of the NHS and we are at that point now. 

1
In reply to marsbar:

> I fully expected this announcement to drop late Friday afternoon.  

 ....any chance you could pick my lottery numbers?

It’s like a comedy sketch - announcing more closures on NY day. No new information came their way since Wednesday.

 jonfun21 02 Jan 2021
In reply to Misha:

“Education is a priority, to a point. That point is the collapse of the NHS and we are at that point now”

totally agree, but it’s good we have managed to keep Homebase open so high risk individuals can keep doing their essential shopping.......this really annoys me (I go past one on my running route) and the volume of elderly people I see trooping in every time is ridiculous.

if we are to close all primary schools again (given the massive impact this will have on a lot of families) then some of the retail exemptions need to be changed/tightened

In reply to jonfun21:

> if we are to close all primary schools again (given the massive impact this will have on a lot of families) then some of the retail exemptions need to be changed/tightened

Homebase is a funny one.  It sells things that are frivolous (you don't need to paint your back bedroom or refit your kitchen now), but also things that are essential (if your toilet breaks you NEED another one, and not everyone wishes to take the cost and higher risk of having a professional come in and fit one if they can DIY it).

The answer to that may well be "click and collect" I suppose.

 jonfun21 02 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

Agreed, there are definetly things you need in an emergency.......but I struggle to accept all the people going in and out are facing an emergency - especially those coming out with plants etc.

Closing the schools is a definitive action which people can’t “get around” the issue with retail is people can get around the regulations (& some companies (e.g. The Range are proactively trying to make themselves out to be essential etc.)

 marsbar 02 Jan 2021
In reply to jonfun21:

I think some of it is to avoid mental health issues. That's presumably why garden centres were the first to open after the initial lockdown.

When people are stuck at home with nothing to do cabin fever sets in.  

If fitting a new kitchen keeps people sane maybe it's ok. 

Its certainly easier to social distance in homebase than in school.  

Click and collect is definitely a good idea.  Keeps people from wandering about the shop.  

 marsbar 02 Jan 2021
 jonfun21 02 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Potentially - but having two children at home whilst both working is going to have a profound impact on our mental health and there will be no alternative unlike in person shopping where there is.....but like most statements the “schools should be the last to shut” was of course not sincere.

I don’t want to come across as negative/anti, if primary schools need to close we will do our best to make it work and hope we don’t lose our jobs or damage our kids education (academic and social) or our relationships with them......also appreciate a lot of people are taking the “stay at home” advice seriously.....it’s just a visual thing I see ref Homebase that really grates with me, the answer is probably to change my running route.....Google maps here I come!

1
 Billhook 02 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

If we close the schools how is the virus going to spread now we've got a lockdown again ?

In reply to jonfun21:

> Agreed, there are definetly things you need in an emergency.......but I struggle to accept all the people going in and out are facing an emergency - especially those coming out with plants etc.

Oh, agreed.  The thing is (as the Welsh found when they tried it) it is very difficult to differentiate between what is essential and what isn't.  Even the garden bit of DIY sheds contains things that you might need to effect an urgent repair, e.g. a fence panel if you have small kids and your neighbour has a big dog.

Click and collect is probably the way to do it, with orders fulfilled outside in the open.  Basically require all the sheds to operate like Screwfix.

Post edited at 16:31
 marsbar 02 Jan 2021
In reply to jonfun21:

I think you are right on balance, it probably is better to shut everything except food and emergencies like in Wales.  I can see how it must grate to have homebase open, whereas to me it seemed less dangerous than work. But on reflection that isn't the issue. 

I got quite annoyed that ice cream was apparently viral in the first lockdown.  

In reply to Billhook:

> If we close the schools how is the virus going to spread now we've got a lockdown again ?

Even if you close pretty much everything else, food shopping is still necessary.

I very much doubt someone buying a plant and a pair of jeans at Tesco are going to be making appreciable difference to spread, provided they only went there because they needed food as well.

Post edited at 16:32
 marsbar 02 Jan 2021
In reply to Billhook:

Am I missing something?  

 jonfun21 02 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Thanks for posting - the statement about “locally determined online offering” or words to that effect concerns me the most.

IMHO there has to be a minimum standard of online provision set by the government (clearly this can be exceeded by individual schools) in the case of sustained school closures (if they do close its going to be for weeks, more likely months as it’s not suddenly going to be “safe” until the r number falls).

Given experience in Lockdown 1 if schools are left to decide themselves what is acceptable some will provide very little.

In reply to jonfun21:

Kids have somewhere between 60 and 90 years ahead of them (or maybe even more with medical advances), barring any disasters.  I wouldn't get hung up about a lost year of education, people pull back from far worse.  Providing support to allow that "pull back" is probably more of a priority, as well as a fair system for awarding grades to those in GCSE and A-level years.

I'd probably go as far as to say that the effect on a 9-year-old (randomly) of a lost education year which can be put back later is probably less than the effect on the whole family of a destroyed family business and homelessness.

Post edited at 16:44
1
 marsbar 02 Jan 2021
In reply to jonfun21:

I don't know the details but as I understand it schools are being expected to provide a full timetable.  If I remember rightly your children didn't get much at all.  

I hope that all the schools are now geared up for proper online teaching this time around.  

Oak academy is also worth looking at, it has been set up as an online school for this and it has lots of lessons ready to use.  

Post edited at 16:50
 RobAJones 02 Jan 2021
In reply to jonfun21:

> Given experience in Lockdown 1 if schools are left to decide themselves what is acceptable some will provide very little.

I think online learning highlights the difference some schools/teachers provide. I have said before that a minimum standard can be achieved nationally by Joe Wicks, HegarthyMaths, Duolingo (Mrs J says that 20 minutes a day during covid has done wonders for my German) etc. The vast majority of teachers will want to supplement this with something more bespoke, but at least it would mean pupils were getting at least 3 hours of work a day.

 jonfun21 02 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

I hope so too ref. online provision.....the vision that people perhaps hold of teachers running online sessions from 9am to 3.30pm, work needing to be handed in, marked and feedback provided really wasn’t the case......the reality was a 15 minute call a couple of times a week and a daily worksheet that took 20 mins for the child to finish - we did supplement with oak leaf, reading and other online resources, but it was exhausting having to arrange/sort/schedule all this whilst also working a c.45 - 50 hour week as well. 

Ref. the point about a years lost education - I agree this can be caught up, the challenge is trying to teach/keep entertained 2 x primary age kids whilst holding down a job. 
 

My wider concern is whether organisations will be so sympathetic ref. people needing to home school this time round - a lot of businesses (clearly not all, some continue to suffer massively) have found ways to operate as near to normal as possible within the new world reality and hence won’t get that schools haven’t (or maybe can’t due to physical/technology limitations) achieve the same. Also in time whether it will start to influence recruitment decisions etc.

 Morty 02 Jan 2021
In reply to jonfun21:

>  we did supplement with oak leaf, reading and other online resources, but it was exhausting having to arrange/sort/schedule all this whilst also working a c.45 - 50 hour week as well. 

Teachers with kids were doing the same thing. Some may have sent them to school as the children of key workers but most of the teachers that I know kept them at home.  Lots of them were teaching 3 or 4 video lessons every day and having to home school their own children too. 

> Ref. the point about a years lost education - I agree this can be caught up, the challenge is trying to teach/keep entertained 2 x primary age kids whilst holding down a job. 

Yer, it's tough, mate, totally agree.  It has been the same for full-time teachers who have either been in school teaching the children of key workers, teaching online video lessons, supplying work for pupils at home and making phone calls constantly during the lockdown period.  It hasn't been easy for anyone.   And teachers and the people who have been able to "to teach/keep entertained 2 x primary age kids whilst holding down a job" are the lucky ones.  Lots of people I know have lost their jobs and are now doing anything just to survive. 

> My wider concern is whether organisations will be so sympathetic ref. people needing to home school this time round

Oh, ok, so not so much about education and that...

> Also in time whether it will start to influence recruitment decisions etc.

Yes, it is a shit show.  What can we do?  Probably best to tackle that bridge when we come to it using established discrimination laws. 

In reply to RobAJones:

> I think online learning highlights the difference some schools/teachers provide. I have said before that a minimum standard can be achieved nationally by Joe Wicks, HegarthyMaths, Duolingo (Mrs J says that 20 minutes a day during covid has done wonders for my German) etc. The vast majority of teachers will want to supplement this with something more bespoke, but at least it would mean pupils were getting at least 3 hours of work a day.

On the rare occasion I was off school sick, I used to love watching the schools programmes on Channel 4 then the OU stuff on BBC2 (OK, as a primary school kid I probably didn't understand much of it).  Providing something like that nationally might, as you say, actually help more kids than doing stuff on Zoom, which is no good if you haven't got a suitable device - there are not many homes that don't have at least one Freeview telly.

 jonfun21 02 Jan 2021
In reply to Morty:

Totally agree - I think if the messaging was more “we need to shut schools but we are going to provide fantastic online learning instead” that would be better - but to be fair all messaging is being put through a “media filter” which will try to emphasise the contentious points.

Also totally get others probably have it harder, shouldn’t stop us trying to improve things for everyone we can (I.e. we don’t want a race to the bottom). 


 

 marsbar 02 Jan 2021
In reply to jonfun21:

Two 15 minute calls a week for 30 children is 15 hours.  

As I said I think your children had a lot less work provided than many.  

I wasn't officially working but I did answer emails and set and mark work and give feedback, as well as dealing with passwords for online stuff as I had been in a long term position and chose to continue to give the pupils the reassurance of the same teacher.  (Its not like I was busy)

I know my colleagues did the same and worked in school on a rota to teach key workers.  They also worked on curriculum development and were expected to put in a full working week.  No one was doing nothing.  

I hope your children's school provides more this time.  

 jonfun21 02 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

And that’s really appreciated - please don’t read my comments as anti teacher/teaching establishment, I am grateful for everything teachers do & it’s a job I certainly couldn’t do (lockdown 1 definitely proved that!)

I remain hopeful things will be better this time & schools have developed a plan on the basis this was a likely situation.

Just to be clear it was a 15 minute call the whole class joined together - i think it may have been 3 x per week

Post edited at 18:30
 RobAJones 02 Jan 2021
In reply to jonfun21:

> I remain hopeful things will be better this time & schools have developed a plan on the basis this was a likely situation.

Unfortunately the expectation in the summer was all about being fully open and "catching up". Schools will have been expected to produce plans for this. As you say it would have been better to plan for the reasonable worst case situation that we are now in, if things had worked out better than expected returning to normal would have been straightforward. 

 marsbar 02 Jan 2021
In reply to jonfun21:

Ah, that isn't really that much then.  

 Billhook 02 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Probably.  Ironic given that a week or two ago the schools in the SE were being threatened with court action if they didn't open - almost as if the government wanted them to spread the virus around.   

Far too subtle.  Give me a dislike and I won't do it again.

In reply to marsbar:

> I got quite annoyed that ice cream was apparently viral in the first lockdown.  

Crikey!! I must've missed that. Hagen Daz and Ben and Jerry are super spreaders!!!

(I do mean the ice cream manufacturer and not legendary 90's bouldering and sport climbing odd couple.)

In reply to jonfun21:

You have a point. To be fair, Homebase doesn’t exactly get busy at the best of times so not particularly high risk. In fact just been to one today (for the first time in years) to get some stuff to mount a finger board and it was virtually deserted. 

 marsbar 02 Jan 2021
In reply to bouldery bits:

Oh that is an unfortunate typo.  

 Andrew Wells 02 Jan 2021

I think that the fact that we keep looking at decisions like keeping schools open or not as something where we have options is part of the problem, tbh.

How many times has the gov said "we're going to get schools open before the summer holidays/relax at christmas/be fine by october/etc etc etc" and then oops turns out that we won't, that the decision was wrong, and now our hand has been forced but because we've acted late we've lost a few thousand more people and the case numbers and transmission are much worse?

You could set your watch by it. Schools should close now when we can decide to close them because it might be key and save a lot of lives, rather in a few weeks when we have to because the NHS is overwhelmed. The gov will only close them when it is forced to do so mind, so don't hold your breath.

(Also much as children's education is a concern, just like everything else in this pandemic, the real issue highlighted here is the systemic inequality of the education system; nice middle class families (like the one I came from) will probably be able to support kids working from home, have access to the relevant tech, have well educated family members who can support the teaching etc. Families who don't have the tech, or the parents with the time and personal skillset, or any number of systemic issues reaching into their lives, will not. It definitely smarts to hear the Tories complain about disadvantaged kids who will be worse off if schools are closed; yeah mate, because of governments like the one we have!)

 Sam Beaton 03 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

From the BBC news website this morning: "Dr Mike Tildesley, an epidemiologist on SAGE, said that while there was a rise in cases in secondary school age groups, there was not strong evidence of transmission in the school environment". So I am hoping that schools only stay shut for the time needed to set up mass testing in schools. My secondary school aged kids have the support and facilities to work from home adequately, but the last nine months have not been ideal for them in terms of time apart from their friends and peers and adults in their lives other than their parents.

 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Sam Beaton:

I'm really not convinced by that particular statement.  

A lack of evidence does not confirm anything either way.  

Nor does past evidence (if there was any) predict what happens with a new variant of the virus which from what we know is more easily spread.  

This is quite old, but it is checked.  

https://fullfact.org/health/coronavirus-transmission-schools-claims/

https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/montreal-schools-now-driving-force-of-covid-19-spread-experts

https://theconversation.com/children-may-transmit-coronavirus-at-the-same-rate-as-adults-what-we-now-know-about-schools-and-covid-19-150523

I don't want schools closed, but I do want to see this taken seriously. 

It is unacceptable for 30 children to be in small rooms with no proper ventilation.  Ventilation should be measured and extraction to outside provided.

There is no reason why pupils and staff cannot adapt to wearing masks.  In France children are expected to wear a mask until lunchtime and put on a clean one after lunch.  

Bubbles of hundreds are causing more problems than they solve and being used to justify bad practice.  Proper social distancing needs to be implemented.  

Post edited at 09:32
 Offwidth 03 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

The PM on Andrew Marr just said again that  the Public Health advice is that schools away from London and the SE are safe to open. This is either a blatant and highly dangerous lie or they are hiding information (that they have no obvious motive to hide), as the virus clearly does spread in schools, especially from older teenagers. 

 mike123 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Offwidth: has anybody made any sort of argument that not sending secondary kids back will increase the spread ? I doubt it but you never know . I'd like to see boris or that head of ofsted  woman spend just one day in front of 5 or 6 different lots of 30 kids, toonorow . I have a few friends who are secondary teachers and if I were them I would , as I think the unions are advising (?) not be doing that for a least a couple of weeks. 

Edit : and to answer the OP , if keeping schools open is as high a priority as they say then  why are  teachers not next on list for being vaccinated ( after NHS , care workers ) ? 

Post edited at 11:03
In reply to Offwidth:

> This is either a blatant and highly dangerous lie or they are hiding information

Or both. Bunter will say anything, so is best ignored.

It's pretty clear from the sharp rises that the new variant has spread to places like Bournemouth. I dont think that counts as London/SE.

In reply to Sam Beaton:

> "Dr Mike Tildesley, an epidemiologist on SAGE, said that while there was a rise in cases in secondary school age groups, there was not strong evidence of transmission in the school environment".

It would be nice to see that evidence...

In reply to marsbar:

> I don't want schools closed, but I do want to see this taken seriously. 

H&S@W should be a consideration, I think; are schools providing a safe working environment?

 Offwidth 03 Jan 2021
In reply to mike123:

Why were teaches not prioritised is a point made by a journalist at the start of the Andrew Marr show. Andrew didn't ask Boris.

The bunfight is distracting from some important issues. The evidence on pupil performance disparity indicates the most important group to keep in school are disadvantaged primary school kids. Risks do seem low to me if primary schools were limited to such kids and those of essential workers. Secondary schools clearly need improvement in risk assessment and better stakeholder buy-in, which given the bungled planning from Williamson will need at least a couple of weeks. As much as some parents will bleat there is little evidence middle class twelve to fourteen year old kids would suffer much from a month off school. 

Boris had a mind blowing excuse later in the show when arguing that his government was not being slow to respond. Apparently different scientists said different things at different times !!!!???? I'm sure SAGE will have a view on that!?

1
 Offwidth 03 Jan 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

I think it is highly unlikely there is evidence. What possible motive would there be to hide it? Dr Mike should know absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Papers have shown school spread elsewhere and this new variant seems to spread a good bit faster in late teenagers.

SAGE are not infallible, they did get mask use wrong in March and the initial growth rates of C19, as they had too few experts in the right areas.

 wintertree 03 Jan 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> > "Dr Mike Tildesley, an epidemiologist on SAGE, said that while there was a rise in cases in secondary school age groups, there was not strong evidence of transmission in the school environment".

> It would be nice to see that evidence...

For or against?

Plot D1 here suggests transmission continued in ages 10-15 when schools remained open during lockdown - bucking the demographic trend.  Then, hints of cases falling sooner/faster over xmas in this age range again bucking the trend.  Enough to give me pause for thought...  The rise in school age groups is not damning in itself for schools, but if they did - uniquely - go in to decay during school holidays, it starts to stack up.  The data is a bit erratic with festive delays and sampling reductions but I think this trend will firm up on friday’s update.

I also echo comments about evidence of absence vs absence of evidence.

Public transport and specific busses for schools could be behind some of this.  Anecdotally mask wearing, window opening and conduct is an unenforced farce on some school busses.

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/off_belay/friday_night_covid_plotting_6-729493?v=1#x9367451

Post edited at 12:10
 Jack 03 Jan 2021

This now seems to be turning into a unions v government issue. The government’s lack of action (again) has forced the unions to act, allowing tory mp’s & the tory press to attack the unions.

My 'blue wall' tory (ex ukip) mp has tweeted & retweeted about the 'militant NEU' causing division & working against its members & pupils. The tory press headlines today & the pm's insistence that schools are safe, are setting them up to blame the unions when teachers follow the advice to work from home, forcing primary schools to close and further delaying the reopening of secondaries.

The unions are at least following the precautionary principle, whereas the government, yet again, wait it out until they have no choice. Or even better for the government, the unions make the choice for them & can then be blamed.

I don't think we'll see a u turn on this, unless things get totally out of control. Schools remaining open has become too big a political totem for the tories. How convenient they can now abdicate the responsibility to the unions, and get a good bit of union bashing out there too.

Post edited at 12:27
 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to wintertree:

Anecdote here and assumptions.  

I am aware of one school having to close entirely apparently due to an infected pupil not wearing a mask on a school bus which of course isn't included in the bubble system.  It appears that this was the cause of positive tests in all year groups.  

Fact is that there is no one to enforce behaviour on school buses.  The teachers can and do enforce mask wearing as pupils enter buses in the afternoon.  Beyond that, nothing.  

Either way, I consider school buses to be a part of having face to face in school learning.  It is certainly something to look at, but unless the army want to come and yell at kids on buses I don't see it improving much.  

Post edited at 12:55
 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Jack:

I take it he has ignored the really not known for being militant National Association of Headteachers, who are taking legal action against the government?  

 Morty 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Sam Beaton:

It doesn't seem as though he was at the meeting on the 22nd that seemed to highlight problems with getting the new variant under control and keeping schools open.  

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948606/s0991-sage-meeting-74-covid-19.pdf

 Fozzy 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Jack:

As a member of the NEU & fully supportive of the proposals they’ve put forward to ensure staff safety (as are all of my colleagues I’ve spoken to about it), I think your MP can shove his party-line nonsense where the sun doesn’t shine. He’s not the one with minimal to no PPE in a room with 30 teenagers. 

 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

The short answer is no.  Why else would the NAHT be taking legal action?  

I think Headteachers in many cases are doing everything possible to attempt to provide a safe working environment, however this is highly variable between schools, and they are unable to do enough due to constraints  of classroom sizes and numbers.  

I personally have been making that exact judgement on a day to day and week to week basis.  

At the current time, with the current figures and the unknown of a new strain being more easily transmitted the situation is far worse than in September.  By November the number of cases in secondary pupils was 50 x higher than September.  

Things were dire towards the end of term.  

I had already restricted myself to working  schools where the measure in place were actually the same as the measures on the risk assessment paperwork.  In many cases they were not.  

Right now there is only one school I would be willing to go to.  For various complicated reasons that unfortunately won't translate to other schools they have been able to re-timetable things such that there are no classes bigger than 15, all classes are in rooms that normally hold 30, and the ventilation and cleaning movement on corridors are absolutely organised.  Even then I don't think the risk is zero, but it is low enough for me to feel that I would consider it.  

> > I don't want schools closed, but I do want to see this taken seriously. 

> H&S@W should be a consideration, I think; are schools providing a safe working environment?

 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Fozzy:

Quite.  

 Andrew Wells 03 Jan 2021

There is also a question of teacher safety

Kids don't seem to suffer from Covid-19 much. But teachers can get it, and get very ill, and die. They aren't soldiers, and this isn't a war (much as the government would love to paint it like that so that when nurses die they can be called war heroes, rather than people who lost their lives due to a lack of adequate PPE).

Should teachers be getting sent into schools with hundreds, potentially thousands of other people, without appropriate PPE, and putting their lives and the lives of their family at risk? My personal view is that we are not really considering the lives of teachers nearly as much as we should be on this topic. Admittedly my Mum is a primary school teacher with only one fully working lung, so I am a little sensitive on this. Still though.

 Morty 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Sam Beaton:

The same scientist several days ago: 'Cases are rising in a really concerning way, so I suspect that unfortunately we will see a ramping-up even further of restrictions, probably more of the country being in Tier 4 or ultimately probably a national lockdown before we get to the end of January'. 

Talk about mixed messages. 

 wintertree 03 Jan 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> H&S@W should be a consideration, I think; are schools providing a safe working environment?

But if (the party line is that) there is no increased risk of transmission, then there is no justification for raising H&S requirements.  To raise these requirements would call the evidence behind the party line in to question.  Or am I the one being cynical and paranoid?

Here is the letter to universities:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948669/Letter_from_Michelle_Donelan_to_higher_education_providers_.pdf

No sign of recognition that increased transmission control measures are likely to be needed given the increased transmissibility of the new variant.   No guidance given to institutions to re-evaluate and/or tighten measures, allowing them to abrogate all responsibility and pass the buck to government.

In reply to marsbar:

General thoughts not aimed at you:

Putting new variant to one side, large parts of England had rates three times higher than current rates, ( where I live was four times higher in November) tier 3 measures did start pulling rates down yet schools stayed open. My wife teaches primary in Warrington and not one single teacher wants their school closed (very few Covid cases in her school).

People (including unions) weren’t half as bothered about schools when Grter Manc, Merseyside, NE etc etc was badly hit. 
A friend is chair of a board of governors at a local school. Almost all pupils would be considered ‘vulnerable’, yet many did not go to school when they had chance - parents choose to keep them off. When they came back this academic year, staff noticed a huge negative difference. 
I can only think that this new variant is considered so ‘bad’ that school closures are considered (by many) as essential. If this is the case then full lockdown is required, stronger than last spring. 

In reply to wintertree:

Interesting views from some Grter Manc areas, varied, but saying that schools should be open in GM but with measures and more decision making power:

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/manchester-oldham-rochdale-leaders-speak-19555119

In reply to captain paranoia:

I'd call Bournemouth in the SE myself, when most people talk of it they basically talk of the London commuter area, and Bournemouth is within that (just).

It is if I recall believed this is how the new strain got round - it was taken to London from Essex then spread to other places that have lots of people often going to London that way.

Post edited at 14:33
 Offwidth 03 Jan 2021
 Fozzy 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

Nail. On. Head. 
 

I’m getting thoroughly fed up of ‘University of Life’ graduates on social media decrying teachers for wanting a safe working environment, with some illogical comparison to supermarket workers or the police and why school staff should ‘quit moaning & get on with it’ or that we’ve had ‘6 months off on full pay’.
I know most of that is due to them being thick as mince, having no qualifications & having to do dross jobs as a result that they then resent, but it is rather grating. 

Post edited at 15:13
5
In reply to marsbar:

More anecdote, but I think that at least 75% of the people that I know that have contracted COVID since the Autumn are people that work in Education. That includes primary, secondary and tertiary. I know a lot of teachers and lecturers, but  probably only represent 10% of the people who I know well enough to know if they have had COVID.

In reply to Neil Williams:

> I'd call Bournemouth in the SE myself, 

Blimey. I think that's stretching the bounds of 'East'. West of the IoW. 2°W.

Where do you think the SE ends? Dorset? Wiltshire? Somerset? Devon...?

 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to mick taylor:

I don't think we can put the new strain to one side.  I think that is the major issue right now.  

I totally agree that there is too much London centric stuff going on, but that isn't what the union position is.  Quite the opposite.  

I know the rates were pretty high in the North West but I don't think they were as high as they are now in Essex.  1300 per 100 000.  

Where I am (East Midlands) we have dropped to about 300 per 100 000.  

The North West has dropped more to around 200 to 250 per 100 000.  

Great news, but will it stay that way?  Is the drop because of the holidays?

And 200 per 100 000 is a big drop, but it's not low.   

Can we stop the new variant from travelling North?  

Post edited at 15:23
 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to mick taylor:

I'd totally agree that schools and councils should be able to make decisions locally.  

We are in this mess because schools who wanted to close before Christmas with good reason were threatened and not supported.  They were forced to stay open.  

 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

I found since that the peak in the North West was somewhere round 650 per 100 000. No where near as bad as Essex is now. 

Unfortunately although it seems like things are better in the North West than October, the numbers are on the rise again

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/latest-coronavirus-infection-rates-greater-19541869

My worry is that if they continue to rise at the rate they are going at present they will exceed the October peak.  

I still think we are better safe than sorry at the moment.  We need to get testing in for everyone and see what is happening with the figures.  

I'm not 100% certain of the demographics of Epping Forest, but I'm pretty sure it has a mix of suburban and rural population and very little high density housing with the majority of residents living in small to medium towns and villages.  If it is so high there, then who knows what will happen when this variant gets to high population density areas.  

In reply to marsbar:

When we had the rates in the graph, the National Education union wrote to Gavin Williamson proposing a rota system to keep classroom sizes down for badly hit schools . GM rates are now half of what they were then, and increasing at a similar rate. 

My opinion is that Public Health should be making these decisions. They should listen to school staff as health and safety is important, but my experience s that most teaching/school staff I know (and know of) want to keep their schools open. 
And if the new variant is the key driver for decision making then take the tough decision and go for full lockdown. There appears to be (or was a few weeks back) more Covid transmission from supermarkets than primary schools, and hospital Covid transmission needs to be looked at (posted on here that 25% * Covid cases in hospitals are caught whilst in hospital for something else)
* think it was that. 


 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to mick taylor:

A rota system at that point would have been extremely sensible. 

I agree with you, but because its not happening at a local level and because local decisions are being refused or ignored I suppose we have reached the point where something has to happen nationally.  

If NEU staff in NW are happy to go to work then that is a decision for them individually and locally.  I don't have a problem with that.  In the end we all have to decide what is safe for us and safe for the children.

To my mind it makes sense to delay the beginning of term rather than wait for it to get worse and then disrupt school in the middle of a term.  

I expect we will have news in a couple of hours.  

In reply to marsbar:

The worst hit areas in the NW nudged towards 850. My middle output area was over 1000.  So we were about 65%, but probably with less testing. 
BTW, I’m glad they are testing more in the SE and, as I posted on here few months back, I think schools in key areas should have had longer, circuit breaker type school holidays made up for by shorter summer holiday. That is different to closing all schools now. 

In reply to marsbar:

> I expect we will have news in a couple of hours.  

You do seem good at Crystal balling when they will make these announcements;  

 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to mick taylor:

Fair enough, I struggled to find the figures. 

I'd love nothing better than for you to be able to tell me "I told you" in a few weeks and for it all to level off again.  I really hope I'm over reacting.  

I have no problem with schools who choose to stay open in tier 3 areas if their staff are happy with that. If staff are honestly OK to be at work then that's up to them.

 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to mick taylor:

I got it spot on for the date in March when we would close.   

Maybe its psychic powers.

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Maybe its because I know there is a union meeting today.  I also think Boris may have been setting the stage for a u turn this morning when he said something vague about stricter measures.  

In reply to captain paranoia:

> > I'd call Bournemouth in the SE myself, 

> Blimey. I think that's stretching the bounds of 'East'. West of the IoW. 2°W.

> Where do you think the SE ends? Dorset? Wiltshire? Somerset? Devon...?

I'd probably go with Poole for this specific context.  British Rail had "Network SouthEast" stretch to Exeter and Weymouth, but that was more for operational convenience, and I definitely wouldn't call Weymouth the SE.

In this context BR's definition (bar those two extremes noted) is quite important - it's the area that associates to London and travels there much more often than people from further afield, and it was that travel that was believed to have caused the quick spread of the new variant specifically around that area.

In reply to marsbar:

> Maybe its because I know there is a union meeting today.  I also think Boris may have been setting the stage for a u turn this morning when he said something vague about stricter measures.  

I predict 8:59am tomorrow

In reply to Neil Williams:

> In this context BR's definition (bar those two extremes noted)

Well, we could extend London a long way by that definition...

LMS

LNER

Of course, SR and GWR would confuse the issue...

In reply to captain paranoia:

I think you're missing the point a bit.  The point is that the SE in this context is "the bit of the country that day-trips London a lot" - the London commuter area, which does extend a bit beyond what would literally just be the bottom right corner of the country.

 wintertree 03 Jan 2021
In reply to mick taylor:

> Interesting views from some Grter Manc areas, varied, but saying that schools should be open in GM but with measures and more decision making power:

The need for central control over local teams has been a recurring feature since the start, and I don't think it's one that is working to local benefit.

In reply to marsbar:

Of course they should.  Look at the graph of hiw fast new cases are growing and it is as obvious that schools should close as it was obvious that the UK should have closed its borders when the sh*t hit the fan in Italy.   They didn't do the obvious thing  then and they probably won't do it now.

In reply to Neil Williams:

> I think you're missing the point a bit.

No, i get.that. I chose Bournemouth because I have family that way. But the genie is out of the bottle; the new variant is just about everywhere. It will grow just like it has in the 'real SE'. Unless we do something about it.

 AJM 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I think you're missing the point a bit.  The point is that the SE in this context is "the bit of the country that day-trips London a lot" - the London commuter area, which does extend a bit beyond what would literally just be the bottom right corner of the country.

There's not going to be that many full time London commuters by the time you get to Bournemouth or Poole. Even if you work right at Waterloo it's still 2 hours each way plus getting to the station at the Bournemouth end - some people will, sure, but it's hardly going to be a significant pool. And the people who can choose to live that far from their work are probably well paid office workers who won't have been in an office for months. 

 wintertree 03 Jan 2021
In reply to captain paranoia:

> It will grow just like it has in the 'real SE'. Unless we do something about it.

People seem to be taking things more seriously which seems to be having an effect.  Hopefully, hopefully.

 kevin stephens 03 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

Should the Government pay teachers overtime to teach a catch up term over the summer holidays, and should teachers and pupils be mandated to attend?

1
 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

New variant map here.  

Pre Christmas, and as I understand it shows the results of taking samples of 5 to 10% of positive tests not actual case numbers.  

https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-where-is-the-new-coronavirus-variant-in-the-uk-12170692

Regardless of  where Bournemouth is, it has got a lot further.  

 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to kevin stephens:

Oh interesting question.  

Personally (and again I hope to be wrong about this) I don't think this will be over by Summer.  Unless you mean Summer 2022 maybe?  

Having seen how attempts to get people to wear masks and stay home haven't been entirely successful, I'd guess that a proportion of parents would be quite reluctant to send their children in when they could be in Spain.  

As for teachers, unless you are planning on stopping online learning for a few weeks I'm not sure about the contract implications.  

Maybe a more targeted approach would work.  Mandatory attendance for the pupils who have point blank refused to engage with online learning despite every effort being made to support them would be my preference and probably make most difference (assuming they turn up of course) and the option for those who have completed the online classes if they wish.  

I believe there is a tuition plan for catching up.  

My niece has been doing everything sent home for her and all her online classes.  She would be quite cross if she was made to do extra in the summer.  She doesn't need to.  

Post edited at 17:39
In reply to marsbar:

> My niece has been doing everything sent home for her and all her online classes.  She would be quite cross if she was made to do extra in the summer.  She doesn't need to.  

As an aside, why is it that school and education work in the UK is seen in the same way as a menial minimum wage job?

In many countries, additional teaching would be considered a privilege.

1
 marsbar 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

Because we already have the privilege of free education.  

 Morty 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> As an aside, why is it that school and education work in the UK is seen in the same way as a menial minimum wage job?

Because there has been a long-term plan to put schools into the hands of private companies who can rinse the public purse and devalue teaching as a profession. 

2
In reply to Morty:

Sorry, I perhaps wasn't clear enough.  I didn't refer to teaching, I referred to the student who was likely to object to extra learning, which in many countries would be seen as a privilege.

1
In reply to kevin stephens:

> Should the Government pay teachers overtime to teach a catch up term over the summer holidays, and should teachers and pupils be mandated to attend?

That's the sort of thing that should have been considered a long time ago.  Since the virus isn't about to change its seasonal behaviour to accommodate us we need to change ours to mitigate its effects.  It would be safer to have kids at school over summer and on holiday in winter so why can't the system tolerate shifting term start/finish by a few weeks? 

In reply to Neil Williams:

Perhaps because, if the pupil has done all the online and sent-home work, and the additional class is aimed at catching-up those who haven't, there's no extra learning going on for them?

 Morty 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Sorry, I perhaps wasn't clear enough.  I didn't refer to teaching, I referred to the student who was likely to object to extra learning, which in many countries would be seen as a privilege.

Yes, it wasn't very clear. 

However, to answer your question, most of the children I have taught are very appreciative of any extra support that is on offer.  

In reply to Niall_H:

> Perhaps because, if the pupil has done all the online and sent-home work, and the additional class is aimed at catching-up those who haven't, there's no extra learning going on for them?

It could be useful revision?

 RobAJones 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

I wonder if there is still a certain perception of summer schools. From memory secondary funding started in mid 2000's they started off with more of a fun/child care focus, then it was for pupils who need to "catch up" because of their KS2 performance, then it was for disadvantaged students to "catch up" I think the funding for summer schools was stopped in about 2015. 

 bruxist 03 Jan 2021
In reply to AJM:

I commuted from Leeds to London every day for six months in 2018. The early trains to London at 5, 5.30, 6 were always packed: a suit on a laptop in every seat. Coming back on earlier or later trains, they were always packed too with commuters getting off in Newark or Retford. I rarely got a seat or even room to sit on the floor in a vestibule until I worked out how to get on the platform at King's Cross before the train doors opened. I don't know what the situation is like now, as I don't do it anymore, but it's an indication that the London commuting spiderweb has a broader reach than one might assume.

 Dave B 03 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

So, in the light of government inaction, large numbers of local heads have decided to close their schools, despite being encouragement from the PM to send kids to school. The local rates are still high, higher than some places where schools have been forced to close. And the local hospitals are essentially full in terms of capacity for itu.

It'll be essential workers children and vulnerable children only on premises. 

Is there no start to their competence in the government?

Not enough computers at home for online Teams lessons though, if I'm trying to do my uni studying too. 

 RobAJones 03 Jan 2021
In reply to bruxist:

Yep, two of the pupils who have tested positive with new strain in Cumbria have a parent who commutes (not every day) to London, it hasn't been confirmed officially, but it seems unlikely for them both to have caught it from a random tourist.

 AJM 03 Jan 2021
In reply to bruxist:

Having worked in a variety of places around then outer periphery of London (I.e. 1.5-2.5 hours from central London on a train) and with a lot of friends and family working in London I’m aware that people do commute a long way to London (I remember my father working with someone who used to commute in from somewhere in Yorkshire and that was probably 25 years ago) - I’m not assuming based on zero experience.....

Since my employers used to have a London office I’ve also done my stint of commuter trains from here into London. They’ve never been that crowded this far out - I’ve never once failed to get a seat even on the ones that actually get in at peak commuter time. Out of Waterloo on the way home is always crowded but that’s because the same trains serve a number of more obvious commuter spots too.

But also, as with your experience, there were a lot of laptops and suits. I can imagine many of those people are working from home now, which in terms of the point about spread of the new variant is a relevant consideration.

In reply to Dave B:

> Not enough computers at home for online Teams lessons though, if I'm trying to do my uni studying too. 

They need to get some teaching on the television, and pronto.  There's barely any home without at least one.  The old Schools programmes were great.

Then you could look at in-person tutorials with very small numbers of kids a couple of times a week, like universities do.

Post edited at 21:22
 RobAJones 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> They need to get some teaching on the television, and pronto. 

I would take relatively little effort to produce some worksheets, that the students fill in, when they are watching the program and some longer questions for when it has finished. 

 Dave B 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

It's actually only really relevant for us, if my placement in hospital doesn't go ahead..

Re television. Lots of homes only have one TV though... Even then the challenge is that most schools run different curriculum, and each year has a different set of learning objectives. You'd need a good number of channels just to give each year group relevant  material... And even then who do they turn to if they get stuck. Kids generally have a lot more short interaction with a teacher than uni  students, usually at least once every day. I'm sure the primary teachers will come along and tell us roughly  how many times they do actually... Though were I used to work, practical classes were very  high in interaction due those 2 hours. 

In reply to Neil Williams:

> It could be useful revision?

Maybe.  But my experience of catch-up classes (from back when I was a teen) was that they didn't work like that

 RobAJones 03 Jan 2021
In reply to Dave B:

> Re television. Lots of homes only have one TV though... Even then the challenge is that most schools run different curriculum, and each year has a different set of learning objectives. You'd need a good number of channels just to give each year group relevant  material... And even then who do they turn to if they get stuck. Kids generally have a lot more short interaction with a teacher than uni  students, usually at least once every day. I'm sure the primary teachers will come along and tell us roughly  how many times they do actually... Though were I used to work, practical classes were very  high in interaction due those 2 hours. 

No "solution" is perfect it is suggestion to make things better. It was initially suggest because a  parent up thread said their kids only 15 minutes with the teacher per week and a 20 minutes work per day. Again some students have a home with on TV  and no other devices they can watch video on, they should be in school (10%?)  I don't think the different a curriculum is much of an issue. I biased because I was maths, but even if I take the broadest specification, history i think, does it really matter if they are studying the Tudors or Romans or WW2 for a month or two. Thirteen year groups twenty? subjects, ten lessons to start with, are you really saying that nationally identifying or producing a few thousand programs is a big deal? As I've said HegarthyMaths, Joe Wicks and Duolingo already have Maths, PE and languages covered. Worksheets should be one word answers for them to fill in as they watch, if they miss the bit when they were told the answer they can watch it again/or rewind the program. Practical lessons  with primary would  possibly need parental supervision, how about Jamie Oliver showing them how to make lunch after they had added the ingredients to your shopping list.  This was all put to the DFE in July.

 wintertree 03 Jan 2021
In reply to RobAJones:

> Yep, two of the pupils who have tested positive with new strain in Cumbria have a parent who commutes (not every day) to London,

Not many people know about it, but BAESystems run private business / commuter flights in and out of Barrow to multiple UK destinations.  I wonder if that's been a route for transmission?

 gazhbo 03 Jan 2021
In reply to RobAJones:

As I've said HegarthyMaths, Joe Wicks and Duolingo already have Maths, PE and languages covered. 
 

You might have already said it, but it doesn’t make it true.  Replacing education with YouTube and phone apps isn’t a solution on any timescale.  
 

I think we’ve reached the point where schools will and should shut again, and when they do they probably won’t open for a long time. But there needs to be some recognition that that will caused significant and, in some cases, irreparable damage to kids’ education.   

Post edited at 22:41
2
In reply to gazhbo:

> You might have already said it, but it doesn’t make it true.  Replacing education with YouTube and phone apps isn’t a solution on any timescale.  

No, it's to tide us over.

> I think we’ve reached the point where schools will and should shut again, and when they do they probably won’t open for a long time. But there needs to be some recognition that that will caused significant and, in some cases, irreparable damage to kids’ education.   

There is no reason it should be irreparable - kids have 60 to 90 years of life ahead of them.  My Dad left school with a CSE in Woodwork, for example, and ended up a bank manager and retired at 55.  There are issues that need to be dealt with, but I really don't think hand-wringing helps anyone.  Kids are generally quite resilient and just need the encouragement and help to work their way through things.

One thing that could be well worth considering is offering the opportunity to repeat a year should this be of benefit.  Just see 2020-2021 as a tiding-over period.

Post edited at 23:15
1
 marsbar 04 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

In the 90s when I was a student teacher we had quite a few kids arrive from Bosnia.  

Some of them had been out of education for a couple of years, lived in a war zone and fled in terror to a country where they didn't speak the language.  

I met one of them recently who is a hospital doctor.  Another I used to work with, an amazing teacher.  There is a post doing the rounds on Facebook that reminded me of this from a woman who ended up in Australia and had missed 4 years of school.  She has a degree and a good job.  

The current situation is far from ideal, but its certainly not irreparable damage.  

1
 Sam Beaton 04 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

I need to hear more stories like that,  thank you, stops me fretting quite so much!

In reply to marsbar:

Exactly.  It's a setback, and it's one that means those adults responsible for the kids need to give their support and love so those kids can be helped to overcome it (and where the families fail to do this they will need more support).  It's perhaps equivalent to the situation where a kid has a serious health issue that effectively "takes them out" for a year.  But it is not the end of the world, and as adults we need to stop pushing that idea because that in and of itself is going to harm those kids' potential.  If those of us that those kids look up to say it's a disaster and they will never recover, that will become true.

Post edited at 07:11
In reply to marsbar:

The uk obsesses with milestones, you will leave school at 16, A levels at 18, etc..  anything else is failure, regardless of grades achieved you leave.

In many countries if a child doesn't pass at 16, they retake the whole year again before moving onto the next stage. Better to leave at 17 with a strong base foundation of knowledge, than at 16 full of gaps. When working life for these kids will be 50 years, 1 year more in full time education is irrelevant. 

2
In reply to summo:

Exactly.  Just tide them over for this year then they can catch up.

Maybe even consider taking the opportunity to do away with GCSEs entirely (perhaps keeping some sort of practical Maths and English-only "baccalaureate"), they now serve no real purpose with mandatory education/training until 18.  Sixth form colleges with admission criteria could use something else, e.g. run their own admission exams or look at previous work.

FWIW German universities are the same, you decide when you're ready to take finals and graduate.

Post edited at 09:18
 marsbar 04 Jan 2021
In reply to Sam Beaton:

Ok, my sister, had glandular fever, severe exhaustion, so ill could only manage half days at school at the most for over a year during her GCSEs.  Now has a degree and working in management.  

Someone I supported when I worked for social services.  In and out of care, out of mainstream education, sitting around in the PRU (pupil referral unit) doing pretty much nothing for entire GSCE years.  Went to college to resit in year 12.  Got a work placement.  Found out what they were interested in, grew up a bit, did day release, then a degree.  Now earning more than me and I’m proud to say that.

Girl in my form, broken leg from being hit by a car.  Caught up, doing fine.  I’m sure there are others.  

Kids need love and boundaries and a safe base to explore the world.  They are designed to learn.  They will be fine.  

2
 marsbar 04 Jan 2021
In reply to summo:

It’s only 4 years ago that we changed the school leaving age to 18 from 16.  

 RobAJones 04 Jan 2021
In reply to gazhbo:

> You might have already said it, but it doesn’t make it true.  Replacing education with YouTube and phone apps isn’t a solution on any timescale.  

Jonfun21 (and other parents) are saying their kids previously got activities that took less than 1 hour a day to complete. I was trying to address that, not replace education.Why isn't it a solution to that problem? I'm trying to make the point that it would be better than the provision some (hopefully a very small minority) pupils got previously. Can you define your timescale? The provision we normally put in would be different for a two day illness, minor operation taking a couple of weeks or 8 months maternity cover. For the first two the "best" lessons I was expected to cover as a non-specialist assistant head would be watch video, fill in worksheet while they are watching it, discuss a few points after the video had finished, complete some extended questions to develop their understanding. If parents are able to help this can be done at home, if they can't at least the first two bits can be done. Do you know what hegarthymaths is and the data behind it? There will be some studies coming out this year regarding duolingo and increase vocab. during lockdown compared to online lessons and not using it.

> I think we’ve reached the point where schools will and should shut again, and when they do they probably won’t open for a long time. But there needs to be some recognition that that will caused significant and, in some cases, irreparable damage to kids’ education.   

I agree with the first sentence. The significant damage will be worst amongst those students who do little or nothing at home, some will still do that even with my suggestion, but I think it would help jonfun21's kids. I've seen kid miss two years of secondary schooling due to cancer treatment, that damage wasn't irreparable.

 RobAJones 04 Jan 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> Not many people know about it, but BAESystems run private business / commuter flights in and out of Barrow to multiple UK destinations.  I wonder if that's been a route for transmission?

Barrow was a "hotspot" back in March/April  I had thought it was seeded by those people returning from skiing holidays and hadn't made the link you have. There was then concern that it was affecting women more than men in Barrow, but it turned out the infection rate was very high amongst hospital (nearly 50% ii think) staff who were 80% female.

It's only anecdotal (but I have got contacts in about a dozen secondary schools and a similar number of primaries, so by the time you factor in families 30,000ish people). For all the talk of tourist infecting locals in the lakes I only know of two sixth form who worked in a shop/cafe who might have got it from this route. Most of the transmission have been local but a significant number have been locals returning from holiday/work trips. Having said that I'm now of the opinion that non-essential shops as well as hospitality should have been closed in September, if we wanted to keep Cumbrian schools open this year. I've never seen the Lakes so busy as they were this autumn. There people on hear who would still have travelled for a couple of hours to then walk/climb for 6/8 hours, but they are small in number compared to people who ant to walk round a lake for and hour, visit a cafe, local attraction and the look round some shops. People don't drive for to hours for a one hour walk.

In reply to RobAJones:

I thought part of the Barrow thing was caused by that being the main hospital for the South Lakes, and it being reported based on where the test was carried out, not where home was?  I definitely recall that being changed at some point.

Regarding shops, I'm really not sure how much difference that would make, other than during the Christmas period when they are really, really busy.  The missed trick was not spending the 9 months we've had designing a school system that works for partial attendance.

It is absolutely inconceivable that there would be more spread from passing someone quickly in a shop than for sitting near them in a school all day.

Post edited at 13:00
 RobAJones 04 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

I think we agree, but I didn't make it clear. What I intended to imply was that had hospitality and non-essential shops nationally been shut in September and October then schools might still be open now. I think wintertree's graphs showing the doubling times, show this fairly clearly. 

1
 RobAJones 04 Jan 2021
In reply to gazhbo:

Ok, so simply saying hegarthymaths is a bit simplistic. Putting a little more thought into it (as an ex-maths teacher I’ll stick to secondary maths). I expect a reasonable proportion of secondary maths lessons start with either numeracy ninjas or corbettmaths 5 a day. These are used to give the class something to do straight away and help settle them down (particularly last term when many secondary staff had to move between rooms) They aren’t really designed to teach anything new but improve the pupils fluency in the basics. I would say the ninjas are suitable for all KS3 students (and it doesn’t really matter if they have done them before) except SEN (so there is an argument that these students should be in school as well as the vulnerable, disadvantaged and key workers). There are five levels to the 5 a day’s, the teacher could decide which one(s) KS4 students should do. For children who can’t access these online booklet (for the whole year of you want) could be printed and given out. As it is easier to deliver fluency practice during lockdown I would suggest doubling the time spent on this by doing both. So about 10 to 15 minutes for most kids. The limitation to this is sometimes a teacher would pick up if a number of students got one of the 5 a day questions wrong, or one of the last 10  ninja questions. I would  have had someone (back in the summer) producing video clips on how to do them. The main part of the “lesson” would be watch a hegarthymaths video(s)  on a particular topic and then attempt the linked exercises. I’m not pretending that all the video’s are great (we need our version of Cha Kil-yong) but one of the great things about HM is that there is a record of what the kids have done. The vast majority of kids who say they don’t understand the video, haven’t watched it. Very few kids who watch them more than once are unable to attempt the questions. The teacher can easily monitor this so an email to the parents asking why haven’t they done the work/do they need help with topic x shouldn’t be too onerous.  I admit this is pretty poor, but seems to be better than some parents are reporting. 

The academy trust (46 secondary schools) I used to work for will be doing the above, but in addition I’ll just use year 11 as an example. They will have all completed mock exams before Christmas (three papers for maths) These will have been marked by the staff, but they will also have filled in a Question Level Analysis sheet for each student. This QLA sheet is a bit of a pain to fill in but will take most teachers an extra couple of hours compared to just marking the papers. The QLA sheets are prepared centrally so no other additional workload for schools staff. These sheets are were then sent home to parents at the end of last term. The sheet contains the following information, the mark the child got on each question, the average mark all candidates achieved on that question, a link to a video clip of a maths teacher doing that particular question, a link to a hegarthymaths video(s) on that topic and suggested exercises to complete, a similar link to corbettmaths videos and sheets and a link to similar past paper question. Normally that would be part of their homework for the next half term when they sit one paper that has been altered so the numerical answers are different. This year I’d say there is enough to keep most students busy for 3 weeks in addition to the work outlined above.

 RobAJones 04 Jan 2021
In reply to Sam Beaton:

From Year 11 in my last year of teaching, two were in my maths class.

One girl missed virtually the whole of year 7 and 8 due to cancer treatment. The fact that she was pleased with her GCSE results, a year "late" was of secondary importance?

Another girl had a quad bike accident at the start of year 11, wasn't back in school until Feb, but got the GCSE results she wanted to enable her to study the A levels of her choice.

A boy had poor attendance in year 10, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitus, had a couple of operations that took time to recover from. Was able to attend school from Christmas to his exams in year 11. Is now studying maths at Uni.

As others have said above, kids who don't have supportive parents is  far more of a problem, than students missing a chunk of school. Although like everyone I do want schools open as much as possible.

 RobAJones 04 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I thought part of the Barrow thing was caused by that being the main hospital for the South Lakes, and it being reported based on where the test was carried out, not where home was?  I definitely recall that being changed at some point.

Again I think we are both correct to some degree.

“This investigation has now been completed and shows Barrow’s higher incidence of coronavirus was actually down to the rigorous testing regime implemented early on by our hospital trust.

The PHE report into Barrow also found that Covid-19 incidence rates were 3.4 times higher in working-age females than it was in their male counterparts across the borough.

However, the rates of infection among children and young adults were in line with the North West average. In older people, they was significantly lower.

The findings confirm the difference in testing processes launched by the hospital trust, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay (UHMBT) - where 81 per cent of employees are female - accounts to a considerable degree for the higher rate of infection found.

 jkarran 04 Jan 2021
In reply to mattmurphy:

> So make space for these people. That’s what triage is about. Prioritising those who medical intervention will make the most difference.

Define who gets care. Nearly retired teacher? Medium sized company boss who hasn't done their sucsession planning properly? Older supermarket checkout person? You if you have an accident?

> You only run into problems if you expect hospitals to prioritise Covid above everything else. 

The restriction of universal healthcare would do dramatic things to our politics (and economy), the problems don't end in the triage tent.

> It depends on what they are. Have you considered what happens if we can’t get the r below 1 with schools closed?

Then we have to try something else and keep trying. Giving up isn't a viable option, an overwhelming tsunami of covid doesn't just recede to leave normal life behind it.

> It’s not an ideal situation, but we’re in a global pandemic. My case of Covid was like a weird cold, so I’m unlikely to need medical care for that, but as I said above, Covid shouldn’t be prioritised ahead of other conditions.

It's not about treating covid in isolation ahead of everything else, it's about the knock on problems caused by both treating it and not when it's rampant. Kept under control it's a manageable problem.

> Hard and fast has worked once - in New Zealand. Everywhere it’s failed. It’s the nature of exponential growth that once you drive it down it just pops back up.

And Vietnam and Taiwan and several smaller islands.

Yes once knocked right down it pops back up but slowly, at a rate light touch restrictions and conventional infection control tools can deal with.

> I wouldn’t say closing schools is the middle ground. It’s an extreme solution that damages the future chances of children.

Getting and keeping prevalence down is the way to get more classrooms open more of the time longer term. Heavily restricting school attendance for now while prevalence is high might be essential or it may just speed that process. Either way it's not clear that it would, on balance, be detrimental to pupils given the alternative of frequent periodic shutdowns.

jk

Post edited at 14:41
 jonfun21 04 Jan 2021
In reply to RobAJones:

Thank for reply - we did add to the school offering, Joe Wicks, Oak National, Reading etc. to ensure our kids didn't fall behind.

The challenge was trying to organise it all and hold down our jobs, it nearly broke us (appreciate many are in this situation for a variety of reasons) and I am really worried it will do the same again this time.

As per earlier I am hopeful online learning will be more in depth / school lead and organised this time (i.e. kids could easily be on a Teams call as a class all day (with 2 x gaps for 30 minute breaks and 1 hour lunch)).

We could then sit next to them working and just help out if stuck occasionally.....if we have to run the teaching (i.e. find all the content, talk them through it, answer questions etc.) again its going to be really tough.

IMHO if there isn't 9.00am to 3.30pm 'school led' learning then the TUC suggestion that working parents should be able to be furloughed is a good one......doubt it will happen though.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-55522104 

 RobAJones 04 Jan 2021
In reply to jonfun21:

> The challenge was trying to organise it all and hold down our jobs, it nearly broke us (appreciate many are in this situation for a variety of reasons) and I am really worried it will do the same again this time.

You are not alone, and the fact that you care means a lot. I'm as frustrated as you that primaries look like they are going to close. I think it was avoidable and home schooling often requires more parental input with younger children

> As per earlier I am hopeful online learning will be more in depth / school lead and organised this time (i.e. kids could easily be on a Teams call as a class all day (with 2 x gaps for 30 minute breaks and 1 hour lunch)).

You should be, no one can defend the provision  you got last time. Not sure all day is realistic as many staff will have their own kids. I know one member of staff who was doing online A level lesson at 8:30 pm after their three had gone to bed.

> We could then sit next to them working and just help out if stuck occasionally.....if we have to run the teaching (i.e. find all the content, talk them through it, answer questions etc.) again its going to be really tough.

Again, it is why the restrictions should have been at secondary level. Even at (older)primary though they should be able to watch a program, with a worksheet to fill in, just one word answers, on what they are watching and a pause/rewind button without too much supervision. I was expecting the school/MAT/LEA to provide 

> IMHO if there isn't 9.00am to 3.30pm 'school led' learning then the TUC suggestion that working parents should be able to be furloughed is a good one......doubt it will happen though.

There is some merit in principle, but there would be an acute shortage of teachers if they did this, how many teachers would be eligible? Could be as high as 50% in some schools

 Andrew Wells 04 Jan 2021
In reply to Andrew Wells:

Not to toot my own horn, so to speak

But as a famous philosopher and dark lord of the sith once said, "all is unfolding as I have foreseen"

1
 marsbar 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

As you suggested 

https://www.bbc.com/mediacentre/2020/bbc-launches-biggest-education-offer-ever?fbclid=IwAR0WXC2UMyBcGeMXi3aKyRG6Cj49LLIgWfJSwagAriBWJdluEUAaDuDxGHM

3 hours a day of primary and 2 hours a day of secondary programmes, as well as extra online stuff.  

Starts Monday.  

Post edited at 22:50
 james mann 05 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

I am a primary teacher. We have about 50% of our children in school either as key worker's kids or as vulnerable pupils. Our whole teaching staff is in teaching our class in school and remote learners simultaneously. This is obviously logistically difficult and impractical. The attitude from SLT was all, 'WE CAN DO THIS. YOUR'E ALL AMAZING!' This is true and in normal times this is a perfectly positive and decent viewpoint which we employ to teach our children who can at times be in very challenging circumstances.

Numbers of children in school are about 9 times that during the first lockdown and the fact that our whole staff are in prevents school from feeling or actually being safe.

Today has been long. I have worked from 7:30 until after 10pm trying to produce packs of learning and resources for home, writing to parents, logging children into teams, planning teaching and learning, re-planning the week's and term's learning and trying to reassure my team that they CAN DO THIS.

In my view, in school's such as ours, this won't stem the household transmission of the virus and has the potential to break some members of staff who are already in difficult circumstances due to covid (partners shielding etc). 

There is no easy answer to dealing with the virus and I feel no anger towards my head. That this was done at such incredibly short notice was needless and typical of this shambolic government. Schools are having to react unnecessarily quickly to government actions without adequate time or resources.

Feeling pissed off with the whole situation.

James

1
In reply to marsbar:

Sounds good.

 Offwidth 06 Jan 2021
In reply to james mann:

Hope things go OK and look after yourself James.

 RobAJones 06 Jan 2021
In reply to james mann:

> I am a primary teacher. We have about 50% of our children in school either as key worker's kids or as vulnerable pupils. 

> Numbers of children in school are about 9 times that during the first lockdown and the fact that our whole staff are in prevents school from feeling or actually being safe.

That seems much more common this time round

> Today has been long. I have worked from 7:30 until after 10pm trying to produce packs of learning and resources for home, writing to parents, logging children into teams, planning teaching and learning, re-planning the week's and term's learning and trying to reassure my team that they CAN DO THIS.

I hope some non-teachers are reading that and appreciate you haven't just had two weeks holiday.

> In my view, in school's such as ours, this won't stem the household transmission of the virus and has the potential to break some members of staff who are already in difficult circumstances due to covid (partners shielding etc). 

I was thinking yesterday, perhaps we could look at things differently. Now and last term teachers described the worst situation was when half the class was in school and half the class was online. In this thread, working parents, of younger kids especially were really struggling to home educate. Should we be looking at using small venues village halls, cafes, pubs, community centres etc for teachers to effectively cover lessons, to a small group. I think we could get it down the 6-10 kids including their own, if we we use other people with CRB checks as well as TA's (and OFSTED inspectors) I was thinking of furloughed adults who would have a CRB check for things like sports clubs, Scouts etc. 

> There is no easy answer to dealing with the virus and I feel no anger towards my head. That this was done at such incredibly short notice was needless and typical of this shambolic government. Schools are having to react unnecessarily quickly to government actions without adequate time or resources.

A month ago it was obvious schools were not going to be fully, had you have been able to plan for the current situation during that time it would have made a massive difference. 

> Feeling pissed off with the whole situation.

I did the odd lesson in primary schools and have friend who were primary teachers, I could never do what you an your colleagues do. One of my friends packed in primary teaching after 15 years,he loved (most of)the job because he wanted to spend some time with his young family. He described the demands of the job he moved to, that paid considerably more  as semi-retirement.

Your work is appreciate by many. Rob

 marsbar 06 Jan 2021
In reply to james mann:

I think there needs to be a combination of schools in an area working together and stricter definitions of key workers.  In my opinion you should only have kids in school that absolutely need to be there.  

In reply to marsbar:

> I think there needs to be a combination of schools in an area working together and stricter definitions of key workers.  In my opinion you should only have kids in school that absolutely need to be there.  

My daughter's primary was quite explicit: don't send your kid(s) in because you can or because you meet the criteria. Please only send them if you meet the criteria and absolutely have no other options!

 Morty 06 Jan 2021
In reply to ChrisBrooke:

> My daughter's primary was quite explicit: don't send your kid(s) in because you can or because you meet the criteria. Please only send them if you meet the criteria and absolutely have no other options!

Yes, very much this.

 marsbar 06 Jan 2021
In reply to Morty:

I think any teachers who are teaching half a class in and half a class out need to speak to their SLT and union about SLT managing parents who don't really need their children to be in.  

Universities need to take responsibility, it absolutely isn't acceptable to consider everyone that works in a university as essential which some universities seem to be saying.

I've spoken to a number of teachers today who are teaching online while their own children are in the house doing school work. If they can do that then why can't university lecturers?  I understand that toddlers and little ones need watching but older primary and secondary children should be able to cope.  

As for people who send their kids in on their day off, that is just selfish entitled behaviour.  

 Morty 06 Jan 2021
In reply to james mann:

I hope you are well, mate. 

You need to ask the head to dial back their expectations to a reasonable level - one that takes into account the experiences of staff on the ground.  It really is unreasonable to expect you to work from 0730-2200 - totally bananas.  It is also unreasonable for you to be expected to teach lessons in class and live-stream them without any kind of filter (you can't be responsible for the things kids say in the class you are teaching that then gets streamed to the homes of other pupils) - a safeguarding issue waiting to happen. 

I think school leaders feel under pressure to provide some sort of gold standard online learning (whatever that is) but with hardly any resources and little time. As a result of this they are putting unreasonable demands on their staff.  From your post it seems that you feel your head might have your best interests at heart - might they be open to working with staff to organise something that works for everyone? 

You are obviously a brilliant, conscientious teacher who feels they are stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Speak to your line manager, SLT, Head and union rep.  You will be able to sort this out between you. 

Good luck with it all, dude and if you need someone to talk to then give us a shout. 

In reply to james mann:

I reckon at some point BoJo will shut everything down, including primary schools. I feel this because I don’t reckon infection rates will come down enough, based on things like your experience (v similar to my wife’s) and the fact that roads are still busy (main road near my house about half as busy as normal, M6 similar when I crossed it earlier (via a bridge, not legging across it). 

 elsewhere 06 Jan 2021
In reply to marsbar:

The computing staff I know at one of the universities are doing all teaching from home, have no intention of going on campus and are discouraged from going on campus. They can't teach on campus as some staff and some students have kids sent home from school, are shielding or are self-isolating.

In reply to mick taylor:

> I reckon at some point BoJo will shut everything down, including primary schools. I feel this because I don’t reckon infection rates will come down enough, based on things like your experience (v similar to my wife’s) and the fact that roads are still busy (main road near my house about half as busy as normal, M6 similar when I crossed it earlier (via a bridge, not legging across it).

The law is now near-identical to March.  I think the mentality is different, though - many other things closed because they thought they should or were scared - to get the same effect now the law will need to be tighter, we'll basically need to legislate to a similar level as Christmas Day.

 Offwidth 07 Jan 2021
In reply to elsewhere:

I know computing staff in many institutions and last term many staff were still expected to run lab classes face to face, unless their risk measure was too high. One institution didn't seem to have any risk measure (either a major H&S risk failure or terrible H&S communication). This term I only have a few communications but no one so far seems to know exactly what is going to happen yet. A recent exPhD student of mine has just been made a permanent SL and says although its hard work right now, with little time for research, he feels he is making a real difference with students whom the system has let down (in academic and general support areas), which was some genuine good news.

 elsewhere 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Offwidth:

Surprising that computing not covered by "work from home if you can work from home".

Just me paraphrasing what Sturgeon is saying today but it's very unequivocal - Universities teaching online only for overwhelming majority of students with exceptions for student nurses and similar. Students don't travel back to campus accommodation, learn online from parental home for majority of students.

Post edited at 12:34
In reply to elsewhere:

I would agree that is bizarre.  Half the IT industry now mostly works from home, a university definitely can.

 elsewhere 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I would agree that is bizarre.  Half the IT industry now mostly works from home, a university definitely can.

There are graduates being recruited, inducted into & starting new IT roles without ever being on the premises - and that's for "traditional" corporate employers.

Post edited at 13:07
In reply to elsewhere:

> There are graduates being recruited, inducted into & starting new IT roles without ever being on the premises - and that's for "traditional" corporate employers.

Yep, we've absolutely done that.  Though many of them have chosen to live in London and go into the office for reasons of sociability, that is obviously easy to pause while all this is going on.

Added bonus: our entire infrastructure is cloud-based, so not only can you work anywhere, you can work on any device with a browser, too.

Post edited at 13:19
 Offwidth 08 Jan 2021
In reply to elsewhere:

I think you are completely right but prior to the start of last term some VCs were promising some direct face-to-face teaching in all subjects (not just STEM) and most of those went ahead despite soaring infection rates and major H&S staff complaints. This term in computing I can't say as I've not been in touch with most of my contacts yet and in the few where I have all class contact is on pause for now.


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