SCHOOLS could remain open all summer as part of a huge £720 million plan to prevent children falling any further behind.
Headteachers will be encouraged to continue providing lessons for the millions of children whose education has suffered as a result of lockdowns keeping them out of the classroom.
Boris Johnson said the huge financial boost will help ensure “no child is left behind” due to the pandemic after schools return on March 8.
The Prime Minister praised teachers and parents for doing a “heroic job with home schooling” but said the classroom was “the best place for our children to be”.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson this morning told BBC Breakfast viewers that the average primary school will receive around £6,000 extra funding, with the average secondary school getting around £22,000 extra.
He said it was up to head teachers to decide how to use the money – but suggested it could be used to pay teachers overtime for extra teaching over the summer to help kids make up for lost time during covid.
Although teaching unions welcomed the investment in education, they have already raised concerns that having children in school over summer risked teachers “burning out” and pupils being “overwhelmed”, the BBC reported.
Follow our coronavirus live blog below for the very latest news and updates on the pandemic…
EU SET TO RECEIVE 90 MILLION FEWER JABS THAN EXPECTED
Europe’s jab chaos looks set to continue, with as many as 90 million doses reportedly missing from AstraZeneca shipments in the second quarter of 2021.
An EU official involved in talks with the firm says the company has warned that it may deliver only half of its promised 180 million doses from April to June, the Daily Mail reported.
It comes after Brussels reacted with fury last month when AstraZeneca said it would cut deliveries to the bloc because of delays at a Belgian factory.
PEOPLE WITH MODERATE LEARNING DISABILITIES PRIORITISED FOR JAB
MPs have been told that another 150,000 people with moderate learning disabilities will be prioritised for vaccinations.
Prof Anthony Harnden, deputy chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and professor of primary care at Oxford University, has said an announcement on prioritisation for people with learning disabilities as imminent.
He said that all people with a learning disability who were the learning disability registers held by GPs would now be immunised in group six of the nine priority groups drawn up by the JCVI for phase one of the vaccine rollout programme, the Guardian reported.
He says this would lead to another 150,000 people with learning disabilities being prioritised.
Currently, those with learning disabilities were only prioritised for vaccinations if their disability was considered “severe”.
POLICY ON MASKS IN CLASSROOMS TO BE REVIEWED OVER EASTER
The Education secretary has said the policy of secondary school pupils in England having to wear masks in classrooms will be reviewed over Easter.
“We’re reviewing that at the Easter holidays to see if that has had a positive impact, and the impact that Public Health England would feel is right, or whether it’s going to continue to be necessary,” Gavin Williamson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
However, he did not rule out that the policy could be in place until 21 June, when legal Covid restrictions could be lifted according to Boris Johnson’s roadmap for England.
SCHOOLS CONSIDER LONGER DAYS OR REDUCED SUMMER HOLS
Schools could stay open for longer days or shorten the summer holidays to give disadvantaged kids more time to catch up on learning lost to the lockdown.
Gavin Williamson said he is looking at “the whole expanse of what we can do in terms of helping children have extra teaching time” over fears millions will be left behind.
The Education Secretary repeatedly refused to rule out that could include schools extending their day or returning during the summer holidays to make up for lost time.
His remarks came as the Government today unveiled a £700 million catch up fund for the kids who have missed out the most while schools have been shut.
Read our full story on the issue here.
HEATHROW SUFFERS £2B LOSS
London Heathrow has seen a loss of £2b over the last year, after passenger numbers plummeted by almost three-quarters in 2020.
John Holland-Kaye, the airport’s chief executive, said the numbers had shrunk to levels not seen “since the 70s”, the Independent reported.
The rapid drop occurred amid disruption and closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
MPS BACK CALL FOR JUNE BANK HOL
Lib Dem leader Ed Davey has thrown his weight behind the calls for an extra day off, and called on Boris to use the day to commemorate the efforts of the NHS and carers.
He told The Sun: “The whole country needs a day off — a great British Summer bank holiday.
“That is why the Liberal Democrats are calling for a bank holiday to commemorate carers on the day legal Covid restrictions disappear.”
BRITS’ BID FOR NEW BANK HOL
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing calls to give the nation a bank holiday to celebrate the end of Covid restrictions, which are pencilled in for June 21.
A social media campaign was launched after the Prime Minister’s road map announcement.
KIDS GET JAB
A GROUP of kids as young as 12 have become the youngest to get a Covid jab.
They were given the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for a national trial to test its immune response.
The volunteers are being jabbed at sites at Oxford University, St George’s University Hospital in London, University Hospital Southampton and Bristol Royal Hospital for Children.
BORIS JOHNSON’S roadmap to recovery has triggered a huge surge in holiday bookings, both here and for trips abroad.
But with the relaxation of restrictions dependent on many factors – and with international travel still a long way off – should we be booking hols? And how can we protect our hard-earned cash?
Travel Editor LISA MINOT answers the important questions . .
Read the full story here
GREECE IS THE WORD
VACCINATED British holiday makers could be able to jet off to Greece as early as May, but EU leaders have said it’s too soon.
The Greek government has suggested vaccinating airport staff and holiday resort workers in a bid to kick-start their tourism industry.
To the delight of British people in desperate need of beaches and glorious sunshine, plans currently being discussed in Athens have suggested that if British visitors can prove they have had their Covid-19, they should be allowed into the country, according to The Times.
BRITS RUSH TO BOOK TABLES AT PUBS AND RESTAURANTS
The hospitality industry has been given the go-ahead to welcome back customers outdoors from April 12 under plans to unlock England from the current coronavirus shutdown.
They will then be given the green light to offer indoor seating from May 17, providing specific Covid conditions are met.
Some establishments have already started accepting bookings for the provisional dates and punters are snapping them up.
Burger chain Byron is among the businesses that has confirmed it will reopen 17 branches for outdoor bookings from April.
IN OTHER NEWS…
- The PM slapped down scientists who said he could ease the lockdown faster
- Matt Hancock said it’s ‘on all of us’ to drive down cases and end curbs on daily life
- Nicola Sturgeon announced Scottish pubs could reopen by the end of April
SECONDARY SCHOOLS TO DELIVER SUMMER PROVISION
Secondary schools will be asked to deliver summer schools as part of the Government’s multimillion-pound catch-up programme for children in England who have faced disruption due to Covid-19.
Boris Johnson has announced an extra £400 million of funding – on top of the £300 million pledged in January – to help pupils make up lost learning time following months of school closures.
As part of the recovery package, summer provision will be introduced for pupils who need it the most, such as incoming Year 7 pupils, whilst one-to-one and small group tutoring schemes will be expanded.
The programme includes a one-off £302 million “Recovery Premium” for primary and secondary schools to support disadvantaged pupils – which could include running additional clubs and activities in the summer, or opting for evidence-based approaches to help children from September.
JUST ONE JAB SLASHES ELDERLY’S HOSPITALISATION RISK BY 94%
It is the first time the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been proven to protect over-65s against the disease.
In a second major boost to plans to unlock the UK, separate data suggests a single dose of the Pfizer jab cuts virus transmission by about 70 per cent, with deaths falling by at least three quarters.
The findings have allowed Boris Johnson finally to start mapping out the nation’s path to freedom.
The Oxford jab has faced boycotts across Europe after politicians, including French president Emmanuel Macron, cast doubt over its effectiveness in OAPs.
But analysis shows it offers almost complete protection against severe illness a month after the first dose.
CAPTAIN SIR TOM’S FUNERAL WILL TAKE PLACE ON SATURDAY
He will be given military honours at the service, which is being attended by eight of his family.
The Second World War veteran passed away on February 2 aged 100 after contracting Covid-19.
His family worked closely with Bedfordshire police ahead of announcing the details of his funeral in a bid to stop well-wishers from gathering.
In a statement confirming the news, they called upon the public to stay at home to pay their respects.
COVID KILLS SON DAYS AFTER VISITING VIRUS-STRICKEN DAD
Three weeks before he died, Greg Smith, 41, said goodbye to his dad Roy, 67, who was admitted to Burton’s Queens Hospital with coronavirus in December.
Within days 41-year-old Greg discovered that he had also contracted Covid, and was admitted to the same hospital.
After fighting for his life on a ventilator Greg tragically passed away.
Greg Smith, 41, pictured with his partner Natalie and kids Oakley, four, Ceejay, 18, Cody, 12, and Ivy, sevenCredit: BPM Media
Greg from Covid three weeks after his dad Roy Smith, 67Credit: BPM Media
WEMBLEY STADIUM TO HOLD 90,000 FANS FOR EUROS
It will be packed with 90,000 fans for the Euros final under plans to use the NHS app to show who is vaccinated.
Ministers want to fill the home of football on July 11 to show off Brexit Britain’s storming jab-driven recovery.
COVID COMA MUM ‘SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DIE’
A woman who gave birth to a son a month ago and has Covid-19 should be allowed to die against her family’s wishes, a Court of Protection judge has decided.
Mr Justice Hayden has ruled that doctors can lawfully stop providing life-support treatment to the woman, who is in her early 30s.
A specialist told him that everything had been tried and the woman’s chances of recovery were “zero”.
The judge considered the case at an urgent virtual hearing this evening.
ISRAEL’S THEATRES REOPENS FOR THOSE WITH VACCINE PASSPORT
It has reopened cultural hubs for people with a “green badge” vaccination certificate after they were closed for months.
An app shows the certificate for people who have received two doses.
People wear face masks as they attend the Khan Theater to watch a show in Jerusalem, IsraelCredit: EPA
BOY, 10, TRAPPED IN COVID QUARANTINE HOTEL
Antonio Caraballo has been forced to fork out a whopping £2,400 to stay with his son Sami.
He is isolating with his young boy at a DoubleTree by Hilton airport hotel for 11 nights.
And they only have 15 minutes of fresh air every day during an escorted car park tour.
The youngster flew to Edinburgh to see his dad and three year old sister from Helsinki, Finland, where his mum lives.
WHAT ARE LONG COVID SYMPTOMS?
- Fatigue or muscle weakness – 63%
- Sleep difficulties: 26%
- Anxiety or depression: 23%
- Hair loss: 22%
- Smell disorder: 11%
- Palpitations: 9%
- Joint pain: 9%
- Decreased appetite: 8%
- Taste disorder: 7%
- Dizziness: 6%
QUARTER OF COVID PATIENTS SUFFER HAIR LOSS
Researchers studying a range of long-term symptoms found 359 out of 1,655 patients hospitalised in Wuhan, China, suffered with hair loss.
The findings, published in The Lancet, found that hair loss was a primary long-term symptom of Covid-19, alongside fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness and joint pain.
The authors of the paper who wanted to investigate the long-term effects of the virus say the symptoms remain “largely unclear”.
The patients who were examined for this study had been discharged from Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan between January 7 and May 29, 2020 after suffering with Covid-19.
FEARS FOURTH WAVE COULD SCUPPER SUMMER OF FREEDOM
The roadmap out of lockdown has given hope for a world without restrictions by June 21 at the earliest – with even the return of packed nightclubs.
But scientists say it’s unlikely the fun will last very long because of a resurgence in cases.
Modelling shows that even with the slow unlocking planned, there will be an unavoidable third wave which could see several thousand die.
And this could drag on for months, potentially causing a fourth wave in the autumn when schools and universities return.
Even with all adults invited for their jab by July, there will still be a proportion of the population who are unvaccinated – enough to allow the virus to make a comeback once restrictions are lifted.
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