Coronavirus daily digest: Friday 3 April

Exam regulator Ofqual has published guidance for schools on how to grade students who have had A-level and GCSE exams cancelled while teachers have reported being asked to work despite being in self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ofqual has revealed its plan to grade cancelled exams. Picture: Adobe Stock
Ofqual has revealed its plan to grade cancelled exams. Picture: Adobe Stock

Each day, CYP Now will summarise the key issues affecting the children and families sector as it tackles the effects of the pandemic. The daily update signposts children’s services practitioners and leaders to the latest developments, expert views, advice and resources.

Here are latest updates from 3 April:

Ofqual releases GCSE and A-level plan

Exam regulator Ofqual has unveiled plans to grade GCSE and A-level exams cancelled amid the pandemic.

Schools and colleges have been asked to provide fair, objective and carefully considered judgments of the grades schools and colleges believe their students would have been most likely to achieve if they had sat their exams, Ofqual has said.

The government body has set out details about how GCSEs, AS and A-levels will be awarded this summer and published further guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers.

Self-isolating teachers asked to work

More than half of teachers who should have been self-isolating due to coronavirus have been asked to attend work, a survey by teacher’s union NASUWT has found.

Some 51 per cent of teachers polled, who thought either they or someone in their household had coronavirus, were still asked to attend work for at least some time during the week beginning 23 March, the first week that schools were closed to all but the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

A further 39 per cent who are classed as being in a vulnerable group due to underlying health conditions, pregnancy or age said they were also asked to attend for some or all of that same week.

High Court to hear case calling for suspension of ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF)

The High Court will hear a case against government's no recourse to public funds policy which restricts single parents from accessing benefits because of their migration status.

The case is being brought by a single mother supported by campaign group the Unity Project.

In an initial hearing today, barristers pleaded with judges for the policy to be urgently suspended, claiming those who are unable to work during the coronavirus crisis are not able to access support. 

However, the High Court said that due to the “serious issues” raised, a full hearing should take place on 6 May.

Childminders ineligible for government grant

Hundreds of childminders who have registered in the last year are unable to access government business grants during the coronavirus crisis.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said grants are available to businesses which have been operating more than a year, leaving newly registered childminders “out in the cold”.

One childminder, who took part in a study by childcare provider Yoopies, said: “I have spent a lot of money to open my business, around £2,000, for nothing. I feel like new businesses have been left out in the cold.”

Parents concerned about children’s mental health 

More than half (56 per cent) of parents are worried about their children’s mental health during the coronavirus outbreak, a Save the Children study shows.

It also reveals that 85 per cent of 16- to 18-year-olds are worried about not seeing their friends and family.

The charity has launched online resources to help parents speak to their children about the pandemic.

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