Welcome back to the second half of the summer term, although I know from the volume of emails, phone calls, general enquiries and Tweets from schools, that for most of you, you have had one eye on work, whilst at the same time attempting to get some respite and rest (I hope)! On Thursday afternoon the Prime Minister announced that there was progress in the five key tests in adjusting the lock down, which included the confirmation around the opening of schools from Monday 1st June 2020.

Thank you to all the schools that have returned their risk assessments, documenting the due diligence in planning for the complexity of extending school provision and welcoming back some particular year groups to school. It is widely accepted that it is not going to be easy for pupils in their return to school routine, simply navigating their way around the building, through corridors and up and down staircases itself will be a new adventure; I saw that Fitzjohns are planning to welcome back children, asking them to adhere to the highway code and leave two metres braking distance-genius. Success, in the end will depend on how resilient plans are to the challenge, and the importance of ongoing communication and consultation with young people, staff and the community, as we review and re-implement new ways of working.

Interestingly a new report out, COVID-19 and Social Mobility published on Friday by the London School of Economics, outlines the unprecedented economic and educational shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it could inflict long-term damage to young people’s prospects in life. According to the authors, the ‘COVID generation’ – young Britons currently under the age of 25 – face declining social mobility unless bold moves are made to create a fairer society – including a job guarantee scheme for those facing long-term unemployment and catch-up tutoring for disadvantaged children. The report headlines three learning shocks which include learning loss due to the length of school closures, the catch up challenges for schools when they eventually have all pupils attending, and education scarring for disadvantaged pupils. The Camden Learning board have already been discussing the crucial elements of a support programme for students which include tutoring, virtual work placements, reducing the digital divide and making best use of the Richard Reeves Foundation bid to reduce the disadvantage gap between English and Maths at the end of KS4. Here is the link to the report LSE report.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director of Camden Learning

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