Coronavirus Update: AoC Alert (13.07.20)

Published: 14 Jul 2020

Lifting the lockdown update

Beauty salons, spas and nail bars were allowed to re-open today in England. In interviews over the weekend and today, cabinet ministers confirmed that there will be updated advice on whether face masks should be worn in shops and also about public transport. We anticipate that the government will continue to adjust and refresh its advice.

Commons Education Committee report on grading and assessment calls for 16-19 catch up premium

On Saturday the Education Select Committee published their report on cancelled exams and calculated grades in light of COVID-19. The report quoted David Hughes as describing the decision not to include post-16 students in the support package as “indefensible”. The report noted AoC’s estimate that £200 million would be needed for a “pupil premium-type upgrade to funding for those students who need it most”, including catch-up support for disadvantaged students.” The committee then made a recommendation that “Post-16 learners, whether they are resitting key English and Maths GCSEs, or preparing to sit final exams before entering higher education or the workplace, deserve proper catchup support”, adding that this could be achieved by doubling the disadvantage element in the funding formula. The government will have to make a formal response to the report and it is still possible we will make progress on this issue. Meanwhile, DfE is due to publish more details on the £1 billion school catch-up fund this week.

Creating a post Covid-19 Edtech strategy

AoC has published a new eBook 'Creating a post-Covid19 EdTech Strategy', bringing together all the wisdom and lessons learnt from lockdown learning. Funded by Ufi the eBook uses a series of insightful articles, tackling the biggest issues for lecturers, students and college leaders during lockdown. The new publication makes the case for serious investment into digital infrastructure to enable an education system fit for the ‘new normal’. It argues that to maintain high levels of student engagement, quality teaching in the medium to long term and protect those at risk of falling out of education forever the government needs to do more to invest at scale in content curation and creation to meet the needs of these learners and those that teach them. You can find out more here.

Brexit

The government starts an information campaign today to encourage people and businesses to prepare for the end of the UK transition period on 31 December 2020. The Home Secretary has published details of the new (points-based) immigration system which will take effect after then. The government is moving ahead with its pre-crisis plans in these areas. We will provide more information for AoC members later in the week in our international briefings.