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The school principal in Berkshire urges parents not to send their children to school in high-flying cases of Covid


A school principal in Berkshire has told parents not to send their children to school tomorrow, even though the more infectious variant of Covid is becoming more common – despite Boris Johnson's assurance that schools are "safe".

Gil Denham, headmistress of Slough, said she cannot guarantee that students or staff will not be exposed to the virus when they return on Monday, and parents should only send their children in if they feel the risk is not too high is.

Most pre-schools in England are expected to reopen their doors tomorrow, while secondary schools will reopen later this month with a staggered weekly testing program.

But in a series of embarrassing blows to Gavin Williamson's plans, councils across the country are defying government orders and demanding that their primaries continue to teach remotely as the new Covid mutation wreaks havoc.

The UK recorded an additional 54,990 coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period – this was the sixth straight day the daily infections exceeded 50,000.

Cumbria and Kent have asked the Department of Education for permission to keep primaries closed tomorrow, and are demanding that learning be taught remotely.

Brighton and Hove City Councils have ordered the closure of elementary schools in the area, while several schools in Wolverhampton, Derbyshire, Merseyside and Nottinghamshire have refused to open.

And this afternoon, Essex County Council ordered that all schools in the only three government reopened counties move to online learning only.

Colchester, Tendring and Uttlesford were told to open classrooms on Monday – but the council has now written to Mr Williamson requesting "urgent clarity" on whether they should still do so if infections continue to rise.

Ms. Denham – the headmistress of the Marish Academy Trust, which runs two elementary schools in Slough – wrote a letter to parents saying they can keep their children at home if they think it's safer, Berkshire Live reports.

The letter read: “If, as a parent and grandparent, I feel that the risk of my child or someone else in my family getting Covid-19 is too high if they go to school from Monday, I would take them home to keep.

"It may be that this is the choice some of you are making for your own families."

She stressed that parents who refuse to send in their children will receive online lessons.

She added: "Neither I nor any other school principal in Slough can guarantee that students or staff will not be exposed to the virus at school or on their way to or from school when our experience has already shown us that Covid-19 this can easily be spread across a community. & # 39;

Slough Borough Council later said it would allow individual schools to make the call about whether or not to open.

Norfolk, Greater Manchester and Southampton have also enabled schools to make their own decisions about returning students.

Their defiance came when the Prime Minister told parents it was "safe to send their children back" today, but refused to rule out a full shutdown to control the mutated coronavirus strain – as Keir Starmer requested a new national lockdown within 24 hours.

In another world of today's coronavirus developments:

  • Another 54,990 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the UK in the last 24 hours and 454 deaths – although the latter number is incomplete as Scotland does not report on Sundays;
  • The Scottish Parliament will be called back from its Christmas break tomorrow morning as Nicola Sturgeon considers tightening restrictions.
  • Officials who ran the UK vaccination program defended the decision to widen the gap between the two doses, insisting that this is "the way we save lives".
  • Tony Blair has warned that five million vaccinations a week could be the only way to keep schools open and prevent crippling lockdowns.
  • Health bosses admitted some procedures could be rescheduled from London to ease pressure, but urgent cancer surgeries are not being scrapped to ease the burden on hospitals.
  • Labor shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens is being treated in hospital for coronavirus, her aides announced.
  • A Labor Frontbencher has apologized for "false and irresponsible" tweets suggesting Vaccination Minister Nadhim Zahawi had jumped the line for bumps.

A school principal in Berkshire has told parents not to send their children to school tomorrow, despite Boris Johnson's assurances that the schools are "safe" (file picture).

The Prime Minister insisted that

The Prime Minister insisted that "there is no doubt in my head" that the schools are "safe" as he insisted there would be no further U-turn when most of the primaries reopen this week

This map shows how the coronavirus variants have been tracked on their worldwide distribution

This map shows how the coronavirus variants have been tracked on their worldwide distribution

The Prime Minister insisted that "there is no doubt in my head" that the schools are "safe" as he insisted there would be no further U-turn in the reopening of most primaries this week, despite more councils saying they wanted to leave the students at home.

However, in a New Years interview on BBC broadcast Andrew Marr, it was suggested that there would be a more extensive shutdown. All he said was that everything would be "checked".

Mr Johnson has been asked to review the impact of the Tier 4 restrictions over the coming weeks to ensure the secondaries are back up and running as scheduled on Jan. 18.

The prime minister also accepted that tougher measures were "likely" to be needed to contain the more contagious variant of the deadly virus, saying the situation was "bumpy".

When asked what else the government could do to stabilize the situation, Mr Johnson said, "There are obviously a number of tougher measures we should consider … school closings are one of those things."

Official figures show there has been an additional 54,990 laboratory-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK, an 80 percent increase from 30,501 a year earlier, while the death toll rose 43 percent to 454 last Sunday

But union leader Sir Keir this afternoon dramatically called for immediate action rather than "clues". "The virus is clearly out of control," he told reporters, saying a squeeze should take effect tomorrow. & # 39; There's no point in the Prime Minister hinting that further restrictions are coming. I say introduce these restrictions now. & # 39;

He added, "The longer you delay making decisions, the worse it is."

He insisted that vaccines were the way to get Britain out of the crisis and said "tens of millions" would receive bumps in the next three months – although he refused to give specific numbers.

Mr Johnson also dismissed criticism that the government handled the pandemic poorly, saying "What we couldn't reasonably foresee was the arrival of the variant."

He added sharply, "The retrospectoscope is a great instrument."

The grim comments came in a growing dispute over education.

The head of the English school guard today warned that the students cannot be "on leave" as the left councils join the uprising against the government's plans to keep schools open.

PM refuses to rule out the possibility of exams being canceled

Boris Johnson today refused to rule out the cancellation of GCSE and A-Level exams this year.

When asked about the possibility, the Prime Minister said: “We have to be realistic, we have to be realistic about how quickly this new variant has spread …

"We have to be realistic about the impact this will have on our NHS … and we have to be humble in the face of this virus."

Ofsted's chief inspector Amanda Spielman said school closings should be kept to an "absolute minimum", revealing that the initial lockdown was affecting children's learning and further development.

As she wrote in the Sunday Telegraph, she said Ofsted had discovered that some younger children "forgot to hold a pencil or use a knife and fork and had regressed into simple language numbers".

Among older children, Ms. Spielman said the school guard had noted "an increase in eating disorders and self-harm, as well as anti-social behavior in some schools" during the coronavirus crisis.

Yesterday the UK’s largest teachers’ union told members it was not safe to return to class and called for a switch to online teaching.

And more councils broke cover today to make it clear that they wanted to keep kids out of school.

Cumbria has asked the Department of Education for permission to keep the primaries closed tomorrow.

The rural county is one of the areas outside of London and in the south east hardest hit by the virulent new strain Covid-19.

Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council's Director of Public Health, said in a series of tweets: “After extensive discussions for the past 48 hours, the CCC Exec Director (People) and I wrote to the DfE together this morning to officially request it Cumbrian elementary schools are included in the emergency framework of schools that are not expected to open tomorrow.

& # 39; Because of the new strain, rates are now very high in Carlisle and Eden and are rising rapidly in other parts of the county – rates in Barrow, Copeland and Allerdale double every 4 to 5 days. And hospitals are under pressure.

According to the SAGE expert, harder Covid curbs are needed

It's "pretty clear" that tougher coronavirus curbs are needed, a SAGE leader warned today.

Professor Sir Mark Walport, a former government science adviser, suggested that Tier 4 would not be enough to accommodate the new mutant strain.

When asked if the highest bracket was sufficient, Sir Mark told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, “It's the Tier 4 restrictions, they obey them.

“It's about breaking through essentially every possible transmission path we possibly can.

"Those are the things that are absolutely necessary and it is pretty clear that we will need more."

& # 39; We in the NHS don't have the ability to easily respond to further rate hikes.

“While elementary school children themselves may not be at high risk, we need to reduce transmission opportunities whenever possible to protect the wider community.

"We are waiting for the decision of the DfE and of course we will continue to support the schools so that the children can learn safely."

The Kent County Council Chairman has urged ministers to keep all elementary schools in the county closed.

Younger students in Thanet, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe are expected to return tomorrow, while the other Kent counties will be studying remotely for the first two weeks of the semester. The agreements will be reviewed on January 18th.

Council Chairman Roger Gough and Cabinet Member for Education and Skills Richard Long wrote to Williamson, “We recognize and share the strong arguments about the harmful effects of learning loss and social isolation on out-of-school children and the effects it has on families.

& # 39; We therefore deeply regret that the government's decision to postpone the opening of the primary school for much of the county is being applied to the remaining four districts of Thanet, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe, which currently have primary schools is to be reopened on Monday. & # 39;

Seven schools in Wolverhampton will remain closed, it was announced tonight after the council asked the Department of Education to allow them to transition to online learning in the primaries.

And this afternoon, Essex County Council ordered that all schools in the only three government reopened counties move to online learning only.

Colchester, Tendring and Uttlesford were told to open their doors on Monday – but the Council has now written to Mr Williamson requesting "urgent clarity" as to whether they should still do so.

Students will stay home on Monday and Tuesday while a review takes place, Council Chairman David Finch said.

A council spokeswoman told the BBC: "The move is being supported by the director of the County Council for Public Health and Regional Public Health in England."

Southampton City Council has told parents that they will not be fined for keeping their children at home.

A letter from officials to parents published in The Sun said: “The government has shown no clear leadership and is refusing to address the legitimate concerns of school leaders and unions.

"It is becoming apparent that not all schools will have enough teachers to safely reopen."

That evening, a school in West Sussex informed parents that staff are unsafe with face-to-face teaching and cannot be opened. It joined Brighton and Hove City Council, which has also directed elementary schools in the area to close on concerns about emerging cases.

School principals urge the government to cancel GCSE and A-level exams this summer amid outrage over Education Secretary Gavin Williamson's plans to keep schools open.

When asked if he could guarantee the schools will open on Jan. 18, Mr Johnson said, "Well, of course we will continue to assess the impact of the Tier 4 measures, the Tier 3 measures."

When asked if GCSE and A-level exams should be canceled, the Prime Minister said, "We have to be realistic, we have to be realistic about how quickly this new variant has spread … we have to be realistic about the impact, that has it on our NHS … and we have to be humble in the face of this virus. & # 39;

Mr Johnson indicated that even stricter restrictions could be put in place and said the tiering system was "unfortunately likely to get tougher".

"We may have to do things over the next few weeks that will be more difficult in many parts of the country," he said.

"I am fully reconciled with it."

Mr Johnson declined to inquire about whether they could include a new Level 5 or curfew, but made it clear that school closings are on the table.

"There are obviously a number of tougher measures that we would have to consider," he said.

Health chiefs say some younger people will die from coronavirus

Health officials today warned that people aged 30 will die from Covid as NHS hospitals in the West Country prepare for an overflow of critically ill patients from London as part of emergency plans.

Trusts in London and the South East at the heart of the UK epidemic are preparing to transfer patients to hospitals in the South West, while patients in East England are being transferred to the Midlands.

The massive Nightingale Hospital in London's Excel Center, which was set up in record time at the start of the pandemic to be quickly mothballed, is set to reopen within 14 days, according to the Times.

National mating agreements have been made and hospitals across the UK should prepare for the same covid pressures as the NHS in, amid doctors' warnings that hospitals in the south have come under "immense pressure" due to an increase in cases of "mutated" Covid the capital.

Chris Hopson, executive director of NHS Providers, said only a small number of patients would be moved from London to the Southwest and the Midlands when space in neighboring hospitals was exhausted.

Dr. Alison Pittard, the dean of the department of intensive care medicine, hinted today that the NHS could collapse because "very, very tired staff" may not have the energy to deal with the tide of "mutated" virus cases.

On the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, she also claimed she had heard of cases of people aged 30 and over suffering from coronavirus in intensive care units, claiming that "younger people will die from Covid".

"I'm not going to speculate now about what they would be, but I'm sure all of our viewers and listeners will understand what kind of things … clearly school closings we had to do in March are one of those things. & # 39;

The sharp warning came when health officials warned people will die from Covid by the age of 30. The West Country NHS hospitals braced themselves for a flood of critically ill patients from London as part of contingency plans.

Trusts in London and the South East at the heart of the UK epidemic are preparing to transfer patients to hospitals in the South West, while patients in East England are being transferred to the Midlands.

The huge Nightingale Hospital in London's Excel Center, which was set up in record time at the beginning of the pandemic to be quickly mothballed, is expected to reopen within 14 days.

National mating agreements have been made and hospitals across the UK should prepare for the same covid pressures as the NHS in, amid doctors' warnings that hospitals in the south have come under "immense pressure" due to an increase in cases of "mutated" Covid the capital.

Chris Hopson, executive director of NHS Providers, said only a small number of patients would be moved from London to the Southwest and the Midlands when space in neighboring hospitals was exhausted.

He said: “Hospitals are doing an excellent job of providing additional capacity to treat the critically ill in London and the South East. When things get tougher we will find other ways to treat people in the area, but we know that there are some patients who can be taken where the pressure is a little less such as the Southwest and the Midlands. & # 39;

Dr. Alison Pittard, the dean of the department of intensive care medicine, hinted today that the NHS could collapse because "very, very tired staff" may not have the energy to deal with the tide of "mutated" virus cases.

On the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, she also claimed she had heard of cases of people aged 30 and over suffering from coronavirus in intensive care units, claiming that "younger people will die from Covid".

Ms. Spielman dismissed calls for distance learning, arguing that it would maximize the differences in the circumstances of children's home life.

She added that schools "have become the collective eyes and ears of society, keeping tabs on those in need most" as they "increase the risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation" if schools remain closed.

The Ofsted boss wrote: “There is a real consensus that schools should be the last place to close and the first to reopen, and having advocated it since last spring, I applaud it. Because it is becoming increasingly clear that children's lives cannot simply be put on hold while we wait for vaccination programs to take effect and the waves of infections to subside.

“We cannot interfere with young people's learning or their further development. The longer the pandemic lasts, the truer this is. & # 39;

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair urged the government to give five million vaccinations a week – and said it was hard to see how else schools could stay open.

He told Times Radio, "If I were Prime Minister now, I would tell the Downing Street team," You have to give me a plan to get that up to five million (vaccinations) a week. "

Alarm bells for Boris with Labor on the way, & # 39; Red Wall & # 39; recapture

Focaldata's major MRP poll will sound alarm bells on Downing Street after a tumultuous first year in power

Focaldata's major MRP poll will sound alarm bells on Downing Street after a tumultuous first year in power

According to a massive poll, Boris Johnson is on the verge of losing most of the seats on the "Red Wall" that won his historic election a year ago.

The Prime Minister's constituency also appears to be at stake as Labor makes a comeback and the government battles to contain the coronavirus crisis.

The research conducted by Focaldata will raise alarm bells on Downing Street after a turbulent first year in power – although there is still a long way to go before the next showdown in Westminster.

The company interviewed more than 22,000 people over the course of December when the Christmas bubbles were drastically reduced due to the mutated variant of Covid and ministers were struggling to reach an agreement with the EU.

An MRP method was used that reconciles the life characteristics of the people surveyed with the profiles of the individual constituencies in order to achieve detailed results in a theoretical choice.

The technique is considered to be more accurate than traditional surveys, where local deviations cannot be taken into account.

The result, published in the Sunday Times, showed that neither the Conservatives nor the Labor Party were able to win a direct majority.

The Tories would lose 81 seats, wiping out Mr Johnson's 80-strong majority secured in December 2019, leaving them 284 seats.

Labor would win 282, an increase of 82. That includes 41 seats in the North of England, Midlands and Wales who voted Labor in 2017 before going blue in 2019.

“Assuming we have the vaccine and should have it. I mean, AstraZeneca won't be able to get up to two million doses a week this week or next, but the week after, that's just AstraZeneca.

“They could probably do more if they knew the system was able to absorb the amount of vaccines they would produce.

"They should get approval for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the end of January. Then they finish their studies, and then we should be able to get them up and running in February."

Mr Blair said a "gradual change" in the vaccination program was the only real prospect of keeping children in schools.

He said: “On the one hand, it is a disaster for school children, especially the poorest school children, if they are not educated.

“But it's also completely understandable that teachers and parents should say, not because they think their children… the risk to children is very, very small, it's the risk to transmission rates, and it's the risk to teachers and parents and therefore for those who they are parents mingle with.

"For all these reasons, it is emphasized again why it is so important to get vaccination going."

The National Education Union, which has 450,000 members, said the government “failed to protect children, their families and our communities,” adding that its members have a legal right to refuse to work.

The move has put her on a collision course with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who said it was imperative that the nation's children be back in class to prevent them from falling behind.

The father of two wrote The Mail on Sunday urging teachers and parents to "move heaven and earth." The young should not bear "the highest costs" of the pandemic.

He said, “My two daughters, one of whom is in an exam year, have had to self-isolate. I know how difficult the last year was because I saw that they missed being where they want to be in the classroom.

"I want my children and all children to be able to go back to school and stay in class. We will continue to prioritize so that this happens where we can."

When asked what his message was to the councils in England saying that their schools should close, Mr Johnson said, “My message to such councils is that they should be guided by public health advice which schools are currently safe are the areas where we will not be driven by the new variant to close them.

“That the priority must be raising children, but of course we want to work with them. I mean, we have to be humble about the impact of this new variant of the virus.

"Let's face it, we have very difficult weeks and months before the vaccine goes live."

The prime minister hopes lateral flow tests will allow schools to return.

He said, “We will work with local authorities, schools and leaders across the country.

“Our advice remains the same. For public health reasons, in the vast majority of the country, in much of the country, we think it makes sense to keep schools open, elementary schools, as you know secondary schools return a bit later.

Tony Blair: "Stepping up" vaccines is the only way to save schools

Tony Blair urged the government to have five million vaccinations a week – and said it was hard to see how else schools could stay open.

The former prime minister told Times Radio, "If I were prime minister now, I would tell the Downing Street team, 'You have to give me a plan to get that up to five million (vaccinations) a week. "

“Assuming we have the vaccine and should have it. I mean, AstraZeneca won't be able to get up to two million doses a week this week or next, but the week after, that's just AstraZeneca.

“They could probably do more if they knew the system was able to absorb the amount of vaccines they would produce.

"They should get approval for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine by the end of January. Then they finish their studies, and then we should be able to get them up and running in February."

Mr Blair said a "gradual change" in the vaccination program was the only real prospect of keeping children in schools.

He said: “On the one hand, it is a disaster for school children, especially the poorest school children, if they are not educated.

“But it's also completely understandable that teachers and parents should say, not because they think their children… the risk to children is very, very small, it's the risk to transmission rates, and it's the risk to teachers and parents and therefore for those who they are parents mingle with.

"For all these reasons, it is emphasized again why it is so important to get vaccination going."

“And the second thing is that we're going to be pushing testing across the system, and I don't think people would have focused enough on it if I was allowed to for just a second.

“One of the things we didn't have when we went into the first lockdown where we sadly had to close schools was that we didn't have that many cross flow tests.

"We now have hundreds of millions of cross-flow tests that I believe and hope can be used, especially in secondary schools to aid school returns."

Anne Longfield, England's Commissioner for Children, has called for teachers to be vaccinated "as a matter of priority" as she said that any school closure "should be used very well for the bare minimum of time".

She told the BBC News Channel: “Schools need to be a priority for children, not just for their education but also for their wellbeing.

“Schools should be the last to close and the first to open, so this is a serious moment for children.

“If there has to be closings, we've seen closings in secondary schools for two weeks now, but if there has to be closings at all, it has to be for the bare minimum of time and that time has to be used very well.

“I want teachers to be given vaccinations as a priority. We haven't heard that from the government, but I think it's very, very necessary. & # 39;

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham suggested that tomorrow, when most elementary school children in England return to school, it could be a “chaotic situation”.

He told the BBC's breakfast program: “There are a lot of parents in Greater Manchester who are waking up rather anxious this morning, including teachers and support staff in schools and children, of course.

“So there are a lot of people who are worried about what is happening, and I think the really important thing is that this is not going to be a big political battle today.

“What we need to find is a practical way through all of this. I would say the current rate won't work. & # 39;

He added, "It's going to be a pretty chaotic situation tomorrow I think given all the fears people have."

Ofsted's chief inspector Amanda Spielman said school closings should be kept to the "bare minimum" as Education Secretary Gavin Williamson urges teachers and parents to "move heaven and earth," adding that the boys are not "the highest cost." “The pandemic

Ofsted's chief inspector Amanda Spielman said school closings should be kept to the "bare minimum" as Education Secretary Gavin Williamson urges teachers and parents to "move heaven and earth," adding that the boys are not "the highest cost." “The pandemic

Ofsted's chief inspector Amanda Spielman said school closings should be kept to the "bare minimum" as Education Secretary Gavin Williamson urges teachers and parents to "move heaven and earth," adding that the boys are not "the highest cost." “The pandemic

In a New Year's interview on BBC program Andrew Marr, Boris Johnson urged parents to send children back to elementary school - but declined to rule out a full shutdown to control the mutated coronavirus strain

In a New Year's interview on BBC program Andrew Marr, Boris Johnson urged parents to send children back to elementary school – but declined to rule out a full shutdown to control the mutated coronavirus strain

PM swears tens of millions of shocks and bureaucracy by March

Boris Johnson today vowed that "tens of millions" of coronavirus vaccine doses will be administered by March – as he admitted ministers need to cut the "absurd" red tape that is preventing retired doctors from joining the effort.

The prime minister refused to give precise figures on how many people will be vaccinated, apart from the government's plan to use two million shocks a week.

But he said, "What I can tell you is that … we hope we can make tens of millions in the next three months."

The Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine is due to be administered from tomorrow. The British process is one of the fastest in the world so far.

Experts have warned that the UK's exit from the crippling lockdown depends on having at least 25 million vulnerable people vaccinated by spring.

The gap between the first and second vaccine dose is widened to reach more people.

Meanwhile, there have been concerns that tens of thousands of recently retired general practitioners, surgeons, and nurses are no longer able to help because of the bureaucracy involved.

In the criticism, more and more “ridiculous” demands were made, for example the requirement to be certified in fire protection or to be trained in the prevention of radicalization.

When asked about the complaints, Mr Johnson said, "I find it absurd and I know the Secretary of Health is taking steps to get rid of this pointless red tape."

Mr Burnham requested that local decision-making be made possible before the primary schools return to England.

He said, “I think there are two options in front of the government. One is to leave decision-making to the councils, who work with the local schools to make decisions about the reality of events in different communities.

“The other is to put elementary and special schools on the same path as secondary schools, and that would be a bit of a delay in opening.

“What I would say to the Prime Minister who I know will be on the BBC this morning is that it has to be one of those options.

"Local flexibility or a delay in opening because I think just plowing forward would get people pretty worried today."

Mr Burnham suggested that a "blanket approach" to reopening schools was not the right approach.

When asked what he would say to a school principal in South Manchester who refused to open on Monday, the Greater Manchester Mayor said, “I would say to the principal, go to the public health director in your community.

“So if it's Trafford in the case of South Manchester, or Manchester itself, that would be the best that people can do.

“And what I am telling the government today are public health directors who work with council presidents and individual schools to make the right decisions for those schools.

“Let the mind come to a balanced judgment based on what is happening. Greater Manchester is currently below the UK average for the number of cases.

"So the position is different in different parts of the country and I think a blanket approach of either reopening the ceiling or saying the ceiling in some way is causing the problem. Local flexibility might be just the way to go."

Mr Johnson today vowed that "tens of millions" of coronavirus vaccine doses will be given by March – as he admitted ministers need to cut the "absurd" red tape to prevent retired medical professionals from joining the effort.

The National Education Union tweeted earlier today, "Our executive is meeting this morning and we will be releasing new guidelines shortly thereafter."

The National Education Union tweeted earlier today, "Our executive is meeting this morning and we will be releasing new guidelines shortly thereafter."

School principals are calling for the GCSE and A-Level exams to be canceled this summer amid the chaos of the school closings

School principals are calling on the government to cancel GCSE and A-level exams this summer amid outrage about Gavin Williamson's plans to keep schools open.

Most pre-schools in England are expected to reopen their doors tomorrow, while secondary schools will reopen in a staggered manner later this month with plans to test every student on a weekly basis.

However, yesterday the UK's largest apprenticeship union told its members that it was not safe to return to the classroom. Several left-wing councils called for their elementary schools to switch to online teaching only.

And in yet another blow to the Minister of Education's plans, UK school principals are now calling for this year's exams to be canceled in order to give priority to "overall public health, the safety of students and staff".

They also claim that it would be unfair to force students to take exams if those whose schools opened earlier had more contact time than those with later start dates.

The worthless? The campaign group – a gathering of 2,000 school principals in 80 local authorities – said: “Greater public health, the safety of students and staff should take precedence over exams.

"Public safety should not be compromised or driven by an inflexible pursuit of GCSE and high school diplomas."

Headmaster of Tanbridge House School in Horsham – and one of the WorthLess? Leader – told the Times: "There is great skepticism that exams can now be conducted fairly."

The prime minister refused to give precise figures on how many people will be vaccinated, apart from the government's plan to use two million shocks a week.

But he said, "What I can tell you is that … we hope we can make tens of millions in the next three months."

The Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine is due to be administered from tomorrow. The British process is one of the fastest in the world so far.

Experts have warned that the UK's exit from the crippling lockdown depends on having at least 25 million vulnerable people vaccinated by spring.

The gap between the first and second vaccine dose is widened to reach more people.

Meanwhile, there have been concerns that tens of thousands of recently retired general practitioners, surgeons, and nurses are no longer able to help because of the bureaucracy involved.

In the criticism, more and more “ridiculous” demands were made, for example the requirement to be certified in fire protection or to be trained in the prevention of radicalization.

When asked about the complaints, Mr Johnson said, "I find it absurd and I know the Secretary of Health is taking steps to get rid of this pointless red tape."

The Prime Minister urged whether he would stay on Downing Street after taking Britain out of the EU for good and insisted, "Yes."

Mr. Johnson continued, “I think you should break out of your signature darkness, if I may say so, Andrew.

"Things are very difficult, we are having a very difficult time as a country, but I really think people should focus on the amazing fact that this country has developed a room temperature vaccine that can be used all over the world.

"And we now have freedoms that we haven't had in 50 years, and there are many reasons to rate this otherwise gloomy New Year very positively."

With the row of schools raging, NAHT General Secretary Paul Whiteman urged a return to schools that are "sustainable" as he accused the Department of Education of "making last-minute decisions for not taking proactive action".

"Besides the parents, there is no one who is more committed to the care and upbringing of children than the school principals and their teams," he told BBC Breakfast.

“And anyone who tries to paint the picture that we are against caring for and raising children is simply doing so and misleading the public for political reasons.

“We're talking about understanding the risks. Take a short break so we can agree on the right remedial action in schools to make them Covid-safe, ensure staff and teams are vaccinated, and that we have a properly supported testing regime in schools to keep them as safe as they are to make possible.

“And then an orderly return to school that is sustainable, rather than the chaos we experienced during the pandemic. The DfE makes last minute decisions because they have not taken proactive action.

"So we all agree that school is the best place for children. We just want to do it well, we want to achieve a sustainable return."

Boris insists he doesn't leave Downing Street

Boris Johnson today insisted he will not leave No10 despite speculation that he might decide to leave.

Urged when asked if he would stay on Downing Street after taking Britain out of the EU for good, the Prime Minister told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show: "Yes."

Mr. Johnson continued, “I think you should break out of your signature darkness, if I may say so, Andrew.

"Things are very difficult, we are having a very difficult time as a country, but I really think people should focus on the amazing fact that this country has developed a room temperature vaccine that can be used all over the world.

"And we now have freedoms that we haven't had in 50 years, and there are many reasons to rate this otherwise gloomy New Year very positively."

The start of the new academic semester was confused as the Covid rates continue to rise due to the new variant.

Recent notes from the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) revealed that scientists have warned that schools may need to close to affect transmission.

But Children Minister Vicky Ford told MPs yesterday that there was no evidence that the new strain caused more serious illnesses in adults or children.

Senior government sources said Mr Williamson tried to keep schools open but was overruled by Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Michael Gove.

The couple have pushed for stricter measures until more people were vaccinated, but critics accused them of "natural authoritarianism."

Last week Williamson announced that all primaries would return on Monday. Ten London boroughs were asked to open their schools, but Mr Williamson was forced to go about a U-turn following a revolt by eight Labor-led councilors.

Now all schools in the capital will offer distance learning for the first two weeks.

The uprising was originally spearheaded by Haringey, once dubbed the first "Corbyn Council" because of his large number of left wing momentum councilors.

Council Chairman Joseph Ejiofor said he would support school principals who wanted to oppose the government, and he was later followed by Harrow Council.

Social distancing signs are displayed at Coldfall Primary School in Muswell Hill, London today as Covid cases across the capital have put increasing pressure on the NHS

Social distancing signs are displayed at Coldfall Primary School in Muswell Hill, London today as Covid cases across the capital have put increasing pressure on the NHS

Labor-led Liverpool City Council is calling for another national lockdown to stop the spread of the mutated Covid strain

Liverpool council presidents today called for a third national lockdown to contain the new "mutant" strain of Covid and prevent a "catastrophe".

The city's incumbent mayor Wendy Simon and the cabinet of the Labor-led city council say the rate of rise in coronavirus cases has reached "alarming levels" and that urgent action is needed to save lives and the NHS.

The new "mutated" strain of Covid is believed to have a higher transmission rate and is most common in London and the South East, where health bosses say hospitals are overburdened.

The tribe is believed to spread from south to north, creating increasing pressure on the NHS.

Cases in Liverpool have nearly tripled to 350 per 100,000 in the past two weeks, despite the city leading the pilot for community testing, which resulted in it becoming the first city to switch from Tier 3 to Tier 2 .

Chris McGovern, leader of the Real Education Campaign, has accused the left of politicizing the issue, saying, “This is about beating the Tories. Keeping schools open should be non-negotiable. & # 39;

Last night, the Ministry of Education said distance learning was "a last resort" and classrooms should be reopened "wherever possible" with appropriate security measures to reduce the risk of transmission.

"As we said earlier, as a last resort, we will move to distance learning with the involvement of public health officials in areas where infections and pressures on the NHS are greatest," the spokesman said.

More than a million four to eleven year olds are now starting their academic semester with online lessons.

Dr. Mary Bousted, the joint general secretary of the NEU, advised members to work from home: "If the government does not act to follow science, we must." Their views have been confirmed by the NASUWT union.

Ministers are considering proposals to give teachers a higher priority when introducing vaccines to keep physical classrooms open.

Hundreds of new vaccination sites are set to go live this week as the NHS steps up its vaccination program with the newly approved Oxford University and AstraZeneca Jab.

As of Monday, around 530,000 doses of the vaccine will be available for launch across the UK. More than a million patients have already received their first dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, which was the first to be approved by the drug and healthcare regulator.

Union leader Sir Keir Starmer said the launch of the vaccine was "our great hope", adding, "I want the government to do everything possible to harness our NHS 'exceptional talents so we can vaccinate at least two million Britons a week until the end of the month. & # 39;

But as he wrote in the Sunday Mirror, he criticized "a chaotic last-minute U-turn in schools" adding, "Parents, teachers and students are confused about who will and will not be back in school tomorrow."

School reopening plans differ across the UK's four countries. In Scotland, most students will study online during the week of January 11th. In Wales, schools are expected to learn face-to-face for the majority of their students by January 11th.

In Northern Ireland, years 8-11 are taught via distance learning throughout January, while elementary school students return to the classroom on January 11th.

Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, said transmission among elementary school students is "still very limited" while secondary school students, especially older teens, can pass the virus on in the same way as adults.

However, health professionals have warned of increasing pressure on services. Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the Royal College of Physicians, said current case numbers from the BBC are "pretty mild" compared to expectations for a week.

GAVIN WILLIAMSON: We all have to move heaven and earth to get kids back into the classroom

By Gavin Williamson, Secretary of State for Education

I remain optimistic that with the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine, 2021 will be the year that we will overcome the coronavirus. At the same time, as a father, I know that I want my children to be in school while this is happening.

It is harmful to keep our children out of classrooms. We know this as parents and we know from the data. Because of this, keeping schools open has been a national priority.

Of course, as parents would expect, this includes responding appropriately and recognizing the clear harm that we know is causing the education and wellbeing of young people by completing education.

With the new twist, the target posts shifted as we battled this horrific virus, but I want to assure parents that we worked during the holidays to make the return as safe as possible.

This means that the staggered start date for all secondary schools will be postponed by one week.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson wrote in The Mail on Sunday that it was imperative that the nation's children be back in class to prevent them from falling behind. He urged teachers and parents to "move heaven and earth," adding that the young are not allowed to bear "the highest cost" of the pandemic

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson wrote in The Mail on Sunday that it was imperative that the nation's children be back in class to prevent them from falling behind. He urged teachers and parents to "move heaven and earth," adding the boys should not bear "the greatest cost" of the pandemic

It also means we need to trigger our contingency plans so that schools in some areas where virus transmission rates are high or those rates are rising rapidly should provide personal education to exam year groups, vulnerable children and children with critical workforce. and distance learning for all other students – so that no child misses their education.

We have identified the areas where elementary schools need to switch to this system starting tomorrow, and we will do the same for high schools before students return on the 18th.

Our fantastic teachers have worked tirelessly to make schools Covid safe and it remains the case that schools are safe.

For secondary schools and colleges, we also run bulk tests to make the schools, the students they attend, and the wider community even safer. I want to make it clear what this means: all secondary students and staff are offered tests before they go back to school – regardless of whether their school is open to all students or to some.

This type of mass testing will not only help protect children and adolescents, but will also benefit everyone in the community as it breaks the chains of transmission that drive infection rates high.

This, in turn, makes it safer for more children to physically return to school.

Teachers are not expected to take the tests themselves and 1,500 armed forces will assist schools and colleges in this important mission.

Meanwhile, schools and colleges will fluctuate the return of their students.

Those in the exam years will be taught remotely in the first week of the semester, starting face-to-face on January 11th. Other secondary schools and students are returning full day Emergency Framework on January 18 in areas where we did not have to apply this.

Children at risk and the children of key workers should, under all circumstances, be taught personally from the beginning of the semester.

Given the spread of the virus in London and the cooperation with leading politicians in London, elementary schools in our capital will not open until tomorrow for vulnerable and critical working-class children for the time being.

We will continuously review the dates and allow more students to return as soon as possible.

During this time, we are taking unprecedented steps to ensure that all children receive distance education.

We'll be shipping over 50,000 laptops and tablets to schools across the country tomorrow, with over 100,000 total in the first week of the semester. In total we have shipped over 500,000 and are on our way to our goal of almost a million.

We are taking these measures because we need to overcome and suppress the transmission of the virus in communities.

These decisions are not political calculations, but concrete steps to support the education, future and dreams of our children – which must not be put on hold.

The safety of teachers and students will always come first, but we all need to move heaven and earth to get the children back to the classroom where they will thrive best.

My two daughters, one of whom is in an exam year, had to self-isolate. I know how difficult the last year was because I saw that they missed being where they want to be in the classroom.

That's why I want my children and all children to be able to go back to school and stay in class. We will continue to prioritize so that this happens where we can.

With all this, we all have to face the fact that there is unfortunately a new variant of Covid and that it is spreading across the country.

However, it remains our duty to provide our children with a future that is full of hope and opportunity.

This year my admiration for teachers and everything they do has reached an even higher level, and it gives me confidence as we continue to fight this virus.

The fight has been long and so many have lost so much, but we have to stand firm on our last push. As a nation we are in it together and we will overcome it together, as our country always does.

During this time, I remain committed to doing everything I can to protect our children, protect education, and ensure that the youngest in our society do not bear the greatest cost in fighting this virus.

Tents in playgrounds while operations begin testing 3.4 million students

By Max Aitchison and Julie Henry

Final preparations are under way to begin mass testing of 3.4 million secondary school students in England on January 11th.

School halls are hastily rebuilt and, in some cases, tents are erected in playgrounds.

It is hoped that the program will provide regular testing for all 11 to 18 year olds at 3,456 state schools as well as colleges and private schools. The aim is to detect asymptomatic coronavirus cases and prevent large numbers of students from being sent home for self-isolation.

Final preparations for the mass test of 3.4 million secondary school students in England from January 11th are underway (archive image)

Final preparations for the mass test of 3.4 million secondary school students in England from January 11th are underway (archive image)

Starting tomorrow, schools will receive deliveries of up to 1,000 test kits and PPE for side-flow devices. The kits, which require either a nasal swab or a throat swab, can produce results in less than 30 minutes.

The Harris Federation, which has 28 secondary schools, will use gyms and tents to conduct the tests. CEO Sir Daniel Moynihan said, “There is a huge gap between those on low incomes and those who do not.

& # 39; The pandemic made that worse. If we want a fairer society and want to improve, we need children in school. & # 39; Most secondary school students will return on January 18, but 760,000 in Exam Years 11 and 13 will return on January 11. You will be given a test before your first lesson and a follow-up exam three days later. The staff is tested once a week.

Anyone who tests positive will then do a more detailed PCR test before leaving the premises to self-isolate. They are not allowed to take public transport home and their close contacts are offered daily tests for seven days so they can stay in school or college instead of having to isolate themselves at home. Ministers are also considering extending guidelines on wearing masks in communal areas to include classrooms in secondary schools.

According to the Office for National Statistics, just under 1.5 percent of students and teachers at English secondary schools tested positive for coronavirus in the week leading up to November 19. Since then, however, the new Covid-19 variant has spread rapidly.

The testing scheme was originally optional, but was made mandatory by the government last Thursday. Children under the age of 16 require the signed consent of their parents for tests. Older students have to agree to this themselves.

A design at Painsley Catholic College in Cheadle, Staffordshire had an acceptance rate of 80 percent. CEO Steve Bell said, "It's a lot to get your head around and the amount of documentation and requirements can fuel anxiety, but that will soon go away when everyone realizes it's very easy."

Three schools from the nationwide Star Academies Trust also took part in a pilot project, recruiting certified exam directors and cleaners.

The CEO, Hamid Patel, said: “School principals and teachers are understandably tired after many months of dealing with the crisis. The tight schedule added to the challenges, but is manageable with creative thinking, planning and determination. & # 39;

Each school has to have a team that covers seven different roles: team leaders, test assistants, processors, a Covid-19 coordinator, registration assistants, result recorders and cleaning staff. None of the roles require clinical experience as most students do the swabs themselves. However, experts criticized the reliability of self-administered tests, claiming they missed up to half of the cases. To counteract this, some schools are getting medical help.

Chris Ramsey, principal at Whitgift School in Croydon, south London, said: "It is not fair to expect volunteers, teachers or boys to take responsibility."

The government has allocated £ 78 million for the program, but there are warnings that will run out within weeks. Private schools have to finance the project themselves.

Approximately 45,000 people are needed to help with the tests, and some schools require paid staff to help. Some advertise "Covid test assistants" who pay between £ 10 and £ 17 an hour. Chris Parkinson, director of Bosworth Academy in Leicester, said, "The biggest challenge is getting the workforce in place."

The only government guidance is a 30-page manual in addition to online sessions. Around 1,500 military personnel will offer support, but only online or by phone.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and University Directors, criticized the program, saying: "Ministers must remember that schools and colleges are educational institutions, not medical institutions, and must properly support this testing program."

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