Back to school

Yesterday the government set out its wish for the schools to return to educating all eligible children from September.

This is a vital task. Children need the benefit of life in the classroom and in groups for break times. Well taught lessons and the competitive edge of others around them can lift their learning. Whilst many parents have done a good job with home teaching and supervision their children have still missed the stimulus of their friends and classmates. Teachers know the curriculum and how to prepare students for public exams.

It is also the case that some children get more help at home than others which can increase inequalities and unfairness. Parents too will benefit as many need to concentrate more on home working for their jobs, or need to go to work rather than child minding.

The new rules end the idea of social distancing between all in a class or bubble, but keep the different groups apart. We’re CV 19 to enter the school the aim would be to isolate the children in the affected bubble and keep the rest of the school open , unless testing suggested it had already spread further.

Some schools have done a good job with Remote learning. Progress should be made with getting all up to standard as it can be a useful adjunct or stand by to classroom face to facE work.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    If State employees were dependent on being paid for being there I think the resistance to going back to work would be less. The private sector wants to return to work ASAP, not so the parasitic state which will not be affected by the coming depression.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Private sector employees have been required to be as productive as possible at home. Not so teachers who, from what I have seen with my children, have done the minimum required.

      Should have furloughed 50% of them, especially for the Summer holidays. As you write that would concentrate minds.

      There are many “vital” public sector workers who could have been furloughed for the last three months and going forward.

    • oldwulf
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      @Mark B. If we have a depression, the “parasitic state” will be affected, as will the unions. We’re all in this together …. aren’t we ?

      • UK Qanon
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately NO we are not in this altogether. Certain establishment individuals will not be affected.

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      Totally agree Mark but unfortunately as politicians are also state employees and part of the parasitic state, not much chance of change any time soon.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        They are NOT state employees!

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 4, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

          I thought MPs were employed by the State and paid a salary and guaranteed pension, although allowed to also work in a self-employed capacity or even as an employer/Director elsewhere as-well (usually because they aren’t Ministers or Shadow Ministers?)

  2. Mick
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:14 am | Permalink

    Let’s be honest here Sir John we all know why the kids haven’t been at school sooner is because of the militant union and the teeth snarling Labour Party using Covid 19 as a stick to beat the government and the teachers wanting a extended holiday

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      +1 – so often the default position of the state sector is do nothing if they think they can get away with it. Since much of what they do is actively damaging this is not always such a bad thing though.

      After all the public are not paying customers for schools or the NHS and you have their money already. So why spend it on them when it can all go on state sector wages and pensions. That is the difference between private schools and state ones. A paying customer who can go elsewhere if they choose to.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      What utter nonsense.

      The Tories have an indefeasible majority of eighty. They can pass whatever law they want, whatever Labour think.

      And since when did they give two hoots about trade union opinion either?

      No, there seems to be rather a lot of “wishing” going on, rather than effective action, as in countries from Denmark to China, and from Greece to New Zealand. Even poor Venezuela puts this country’s covid19 response to shame, in spite of our not letting them have back their gold.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        The UK citizen can expect to live 10 years longer than the Venezuelan in spite of the Covid 19 response.

      • Oldwulf
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        @ MiC. The UK court has denied Mr Maduro access to Venezuelan gold because the UK government recognises his rival, Mr Guido, as the rightful leader ..but I suspect you already knew that.

      • NickC
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Your belief in the efficacy of bureaucratic rules is touching. And your naivety in assuming the criteria for assessing a cv19 death is the same in all countries doubly so.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        If you were in charge, with this 80 seat majority and unions refused to comply, what would you do?
        Call in the Army?

        PS I see you fall for Venezuela figures just like you fall for China’s figures.

      • Original Richard
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        From the Guardian 26/06/2020 :

        “Venezuela’s Covid-19 death toll claims ‘not credible’, human rights group says.

        Venezuelan claims that fewer than a dozen people have died in the country from Covid-19 are nonsensical and likely dramatically underestimate the severity of the situation there, Human Rights Watch activists have claimed.

        Kathleen Page, a physician from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine involved in the report, said she had interviewed Venezuelan health professionals who had “indicated that even when they see confirmed cases of Covid-19 they are not being reported in the epidemiological reports”.

        Page said Venezuela’s already collapsed health system was utterly unprepared for the coronavirus. When Covid-19 arrived in Venezuela, research showed:

        A third of hospitals had no water supply and two-thirds only an intermittent supply.

        60% of hospitals reported shortages of gloves and face masks.

        76% of hospitals suffered soap shortages and 90% shortages of sanitizing gel.”

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted July 4, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

          Thanks Richard – can you write a similar amount on my various main points too?

          Thanks again.

          • NickC
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

            Martin, You’ve already been told that China’s figures are unreliable. You’ve been told that different countries use different criteria for recording cv19 deaths. You’ve also been told that most of the countries that did “better” than us locked down their borders. So I accept your thanks.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

            What a pathetic way of dodging giving any response to that excellent factual post from Richard.

      • czerwonadupa
        Posted July 4, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        Your right there’s been a lot of pointless “wishing” for the past 4 years. Like “wishing” there had never been a referendum, “wishing” the majority hadn’t voted leave, “wishing” people forget about freedom, “wishing” people forget about independence, “wishing” people didn’t keep going on about self determination & most of all “wishing” we could return to the warm bosom of “Mother” Merkel.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      schools are so risk- averse.
      No cuddles, ideally no touching, no medication unless signed for by parent, no sticking plaster, blah blah.

    • JoolsB
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      The unions plus a weak Education Secretary who is part of a weak Government.

    • Brigham
      Posted July 5, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

      With an 80 seat majority, it’s time the government got to grips with all the people taking advantage of the generosity of the Chancellor and put the unions in their place. They also need to get tough with the MSM.

  3. Javelin
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    It’s worth mentioning that according to the Government submission to the judical review of the lockdown that “schools never closed” and that it was only a “recommendation” that they closed.

    In otherwords if you took your children to school then then school would probably of turned them away. However if you had the legal nonce you could have taken the local authority to court, where you would have lost, then if you had very deep pockets you could have gone to the High Court and a Government lawyer would have admitted the school shouldn’t have closed.

    Very shabby, unethical manouvering by the Government and their behavioural psychology “nudge unit”.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Simple statement of fact. The schools never did close, they stayed open for keyworker children, officially at risk children, and later on others the headteachers would accept back.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Govt are in big trouble legally. Their emergency legislation was not legally enacted. They are liable for all losses. Medical, educational and financial.

    • Original Chris
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Agreed, Javelin. Disgraceful behaviour by the Government.

    • Zorro
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      ‘…probably have turned them away’ – back to school for you young man, and please tell me you did mean ‘nous’ and not…ahem


    • Zorro
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Good luck to Simon Dolan in his fight, and typical of the Behavioural insights Team….


  4. Lifelogic
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    This indeed is vital.

    There is a lot of very good news about too. Deaths in the latest reported week were slight below average for the first time. 65 deaths fewer than the five year average for this week. This is the first time for 14 weeks.

    Furthermore the number of deaths per new tested positive in the UK currently is more like one in 50 rather than dire rates we had a few weeks back of about 1 in 7. Seven time less chance of dying if you catch it now rather than a few weeks back. So either the virus is evolving to be less dangerous or the NHS has found better treatments or a bit of both.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:40 am | Permalink

      It is however almost certainly true that had they locked down about a week earlier (as I suggested at the time) they would have saved many thousands of lives perhaps as many as 30,000 or so.

      Delaying people catching the virus (even if they did catch it later) would still have saved many lives – this as survival rates are now so very much higher.

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        No that is not almost certainly true. It is almost certainly false.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

          How do you come to that conclusion?

          • NickC
            Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

            The rollover of the death toll was around 10th April. That is less than three weeks from lockdown. From infection, to incubation, to symptoms of illness, to serious symptoms, to ICU, to death, typically takes 4 – 6 weeks for cv19. Hence the lockdown was not the reason for the rollover.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted July 5, 2020 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

            Not the only reason I agree – but it does not follow from that that lives would not have been saved or rather delayed.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        How many lives does lockdown cost ? You never mention how many lives lockdown costs (and is going to cost.)

        Shutting down an economy (especially a service based one) is the easiest decision in the world to make, of course.

        According to Dolores Cahill (leading disease expert) CV19 has a mortality rate of 0.1% (90% of whom were old and sick) and she cites research that shows 0.5% are going to be killed by lockdown (across all age and health groups.)

        The major error was not isolating people whom we knew to be vulnerable whilst quarantining the healthy instead.

        We locked away the workers and economically active whilst leaving those in care homes to the ravages of CV19 – introducing it to them from hospitals.

        Even those nations that have been the model of a CV19 response have suffered a huge economic impact and will have to pay the butcher’s bill in the end if no vaccine is found and this disease becomes a seasonal feature.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        Scotland’s outbreak was about a week behind in numbers from London so effectively they locked down a week earlier than England, they still followed a similar outbreak pattern.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Having eradicated flu as a by-product, surely the death rate should have fallen even more? 10% less than normal?

      • Andy
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        We locked down far too late.

        Had we paid attention to what had happened in Wuhan and what was happening in Italy we could have locked down in early March.

        The spread would have been significantly contained. The number of infections would have been lower. The virus would have been easier to trace and contain. The lockdown would have even more effective, it would have been shorter and the economic hit would have been smaller.

        And the goons in Number 10 failed. Too busy with your Brexit and saving Priti Patel’s career. The primary duty of a government is to protect its people. They have epically failed.

        • Mike Wilson
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          What bloody difference would it have made if we had locked down 2 weeks earlier? The virus has not gone away. Sooner or later we have to ‘unlock’ and just get on with life. You should be glad. Lots of us oldies are going to die and will no longer be claiming our state pension.

          And we’ll take the pressure off social care too. It’s a win-win for the state and young people.

          if we had locked down 2 weeks earlier – and, presumably (possible) had less cases – what would happen when the lockdown was lifted – again, presumably, a lot more than two weeks earlier? Answer? A load more cases and another lockdown. You can’t argue that an earlier lockdown would have reduced cases permanently. There is no evidence for that. You think New Zealand will never have another case?

          • Lifelogic
            Posted July 5, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

            Well even if you do get it later you already have a better chance of survival now. More than double.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

          Early March there were very few UK cases.
          Even SAGE did not recommend full shut down in early March.
          And neither did you at that time.

        • NickC
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

          Andy, There’s no point in locking down our country if we don’t lock down our borders. Yet you were absolutely set against locking down our borders – it was just “xenophobic” according to you. That’s an epic fail on your part, I think.

      • Richard
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        I disagree. Professor Simon Wood’s analysis of England and Wales covid hospital admission data “shows that infections peaked about five days before Lockdown and were in fast decline by the time it was introduced.”

      • Fred H
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        rubbish. The only saving lives factor would have been to insist ‘tested’ Covid patients in Hospital stayed there and were not returned to Care Homes. Similarly patients at Care Homes with serious, possibly numerous other conditions should not have been moved to hospitals.
        The spread factor was neglected to a horrific degree.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      Sorry (a slip in my arithmetic) not 1 in 50 but about 1 in 16 so just over two times better. Nevertheless much better odds.

      In Singapore only one in 1700 people (who have tested positive) have died. What is their health care system doing that ours is not doing anything like as well?

      • Peter van LEEUWEN
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

        @Lifelogic: I’m not sure that comparing with countries with a much younger population is fair. Better to compare with a comparable country like Germany, in which the figure is 1 in 22, when the UK score 1 in 6 ( Germany also did much better than the Netherlands, which is closer to the UK. So The Netherlands may have to learn from Germany when the time for evalutions will come.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          True another factor but the difference clearly is not all explained by that.

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

          I agree with Peter, Germany was indeed a shining example and much more successful with this outbreak than the UK, the whole of the EU should be told how they achieved this, what drugs did they have available, how many people did they treat in hospital, what treatments did they give, how many recovered following hospital treatment. Did they allow flights in from everywhere, as many flights as the UK did? Did they have cruise boats dock with passengers at a similar level? Did they return patients from hospitals to care homes untested?

          • Fred H
            Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

            simple – they co-ordinated hundreds of LOCAL labs to start testing immediately which indicated who was positive and locked THEM -down. Then tracing verbally started to further identify contacts and lock them down. Followed by flight restrictions, border controls, mask& gloves wearing…..just like us ….NOT!

      • Northern Monkey
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        You are as self-serving as Neil Fergusson, and your mathematics (in fact a projection, so lacking any certainty) are just as flawed as his.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          Not really a projection just using the figures produced and making reasonable assumptions about average time from contracting the virus and death.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        The possibly misleading effects of mass testing, when there is a low incidence of infection but a proportion of false positives in the tests themselves have been explained to you previously.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

          I do not need it explaining to me I understand that can be a factor but it is not the main one. The difference comparing say Germany to the UK is huge.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

            Yes, I’m not making excuses for the complete mess here.

            However, there are some exceptional reports, such as that from Singapore.

            If it appears that we are basing our comparisons on those, then when they are discredited it can wrongly absolve those to blame for the UK’s shambles.

            Those with Germany and other more reliable sources are the ones as you say.

            We should leave Singapore aside on the test results figure, I think.

        • Fred H
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          The numerous false negatives were the problem – and still are!

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

            False positives are what give an apparently high survival rate.

          • Fred H
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

            Martin – -survival after a wrong test cannot be a problem, passing on death IS!

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        46 per cent of all of Scotland’s Covid deaths have occurred in Care Homes, Singapore zero in Care Homes said the Herald on May 21st when England was accused of undercounting.

        Deaths in Carehomes:
        37% Germany
        50% Sweden
        51% Belgium
        61% Norway
        66% Spain

      • Christine
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

        It might not be the health care system. We know Covid is more dangerous for people who are overweight and have underlying health conditions. Like the USA our country has a high level of obesity. Asian countries do not. Sometimes it comes down to people’s lifestyle choices.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

          Again another factor but not the main one I suspect.

          • NickC
            Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

            Lifelogic, Like Martin you assume that the criteria for assessing the reason for death is the same in all the countries you cite. That is highly unlikely.

      • Stred
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        They have been and still are using HCQ with an antibiotic and zinc. The death rate in Marseille is much lower than other parts of France which didn’t use it and finally banned it.

      • Richard
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        96% of Covid19 deaths have comorbidities on the death certificate.
        Most deaths occurred in nursing homes, which don’t benefit from the lockdown. Most are over 80. The IFR is ~0.1% same as the flu.

        • NickC
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          Richard, That is the case. It is a pity that Martin and Lifelogic fail to understand not only the extent of the co-morbidities but also the different criteria used in different countries. The real scandal is that NHS management shoved already infected elderly people out into the general care home system.

  5. jerry
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    I raised this yesterday with our host as a OT comment, as yet unpublished, so perhaps I should simply repost it here (and our host can simply delete the previous comment);

    The govts plans to get all schools back to full time education in Sept, what a load of Whitehall gobbledygook, probably written by bureaucrats who send their children to weekly (if not full term) boarding schools no doubt!

    What is the point of having class/year ‘bubbles’ [1] when any class might have the sibling(s) of children not in their bubble, perhaps not even at the same school, and even if the schools can keep all these bubbles apart during the school day the children are free to meet up and mix when out of school (and are far more likely to do because of attending school). Just how is school transport going to work, is the govt really going to fund separate buses for all these ‘bubbles’, or perhaps the govt is to fund ride-along mask police on school transport when year groups can not be segregated! Further I read media speculation about separate start times for different classes/year groups, how will that idea pan out in the real world with the parents, and employers, will a parent be allowed to be on full furlough/SE support if due to state diktat they need to be home longer in the morning and back earlier in the afternoons but their work needs to have someone working the usual hours?

    [1] rather than social distancing within the class/form/year

    • jerry
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:41 am | Permalink

      It is now widely accepted, whilst children do not generally appear to suffer badly from the effects of a CV19 infection they can be super-spreaders. The govt says fines may well be handed out for non-attendance, who will judge if there is good cause for a child not to resume full time schooling, some bureaucrat (or head teacher worried about their Ofsted rating) or the parents who along with their children share the home with the children’s grandparents, or anyone of any age who -whilst not on the official shielding list- have underlying health issues?

      • Adam
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

        Different needs pull behaviour in opposite directions, causing complications.

        A few simple rules stating the best action for every case are probably beyond what any Govt could define. The right path often depends on people with good intent each making well-reasoned judgements about what they individually should do.

        Many may deviate, yet the collective wisdom of a large population is harnessed by common sense and the quest for self-preservation.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        The head will judge Jerry as now with absence.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Please be careful you’re likely to fall for the scientific media hype about ‘super spreaders’

        ‘They’ use that term when no other terms fit their model and is generally used in association with maybe, could-be, most-likely, suggested etc etc

        Please do your own research but there are no know cases of any under 18s being ‘super spreaders’

        • jerry
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          @glen cullen; What is your definition of a “super spreader”?

          • glen cullen
            Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

            It’s the scientific/medical communities definition which is important

          • jerry
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

            @glen cullen; Exactly, yet you appear to be discarding the scientific definition, preferring your own that better fits your political economic goals.

    • Know-Dice
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Jerry, agreed..

      Too many “rules” that will not be followed, mainly because they don’t make sense and are not intuitive…

      We try to keep it simple, sanitize hands when entering and leaving shops, keep away from groups of people, don’t stand behind somebody when the wind is in your face. I think in future will will also go to wearing face covering in shops.

      • jerry
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        @Know-Dice; “I think in future will will also go to wearing face covering in shops.”

        If simple face masks stopped contagion no front-line health worker [1] would have ever caught CV19, hence why such people in highly contagious areas tend to wear full bio-hazard suits that include full face coverings.

        Worse, DIY masks can be totally useless, lulling the unthinking and irresponsible into a fails sense of security for themselves and others, and this without idiots sneezing into a mask and because mask wearing has been mandated they turn their mask inside out…

        Social distancing, and if needs-be isolation, is the best and only true prevention, until/if a vaccine or post infection treatment is available.

        [1] nor many people in the far east, such as Japan, were social face coverings were the norm before CV19

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          Jerry – we saw many front-line medical workers at the start of this crisis in uplifting Tik-tok videos dancing and singing without masks, no social distancing, leaving hospital in their workwear, hugging each other, standing shoulder to shoulder. For the sake of wearing a mask for a short time when you’re close up (less than 2m) next to a stranger I don’t see what the problem is.

          • jerry
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            @a-tracy; You see no problem in wearing masks, OK, but others see no problem with having a full extended nationwide lock-down and (to pay for furlough schemes etc.) the hiking of taxes for the wealthiest 10%.

            So that’s settled, we’ll all wear masks, whilst shopping only for essentials and the ‘stinking rich’ [sic] can have their savings ransacked by HMRC at a 99% taxation rate, oh and to stop any flight of capital let’s also have money controls- yes, you get your pet want, others get their pet wants…

            Or perhaps our govt(s) should employ evidence lead polices, not personal whims and political posturings!

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            The furlough and lockdown isn’t working though is it – 14 weeks and still cases spiking up from nowhere, you speak of Arizona and Florida but how the heck have spikes occurred out of the blue in the U.K. we weren’t freed from lockdown in Leicester and that’s not close to a beach (we know a number of cases flew in and several went straight to hospital)!

            Wearing a mask for a short time each day is NOTHING like what you’re proposing.

          • jerry
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

            @a-tracy; “how the heck have spikes occurred out of the blue in the U.K”

            They don’t, some people are refusing to accept they can be asymptomatic (even able to return a fails negative CV19 test), they do not obey social distancing.

            What you seem to fail to understand about masks is that even when the mask is worn correctly [1] the virus can be transferred if the wearer touches a contaminated part of their mask or skin and then touches a surface or purposely/accidentally touches someone else.

            [1] how many people do you see with their nose uncovered from the face covering

          • jerry
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

            “Wearing a mask for a short time each day is NOTHING like what you’re proposing.”

            So no one works in shops, no one works outside in public areas…duh?!

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 5, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

            Why the heck was such a big consistent hoo-haa kicked up about nursing, hospital cleaners, bus drivers and care workers wearing masks then Jerry?

            One care home was in the news just yesterday with a £20 reusable special mask that she considered had helped to save over 100 of her residents and workers from contracting this virus because she had the foresight to buy these in the beginning.

            If I wear a mask and antibac gel my hands and try to keep my distance, wash my clothes when I return from areas with other people I reduce my risk end of.

          • jerry
            Posted July 6, 2020 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            @a-tracy; “such a big consistent hoo-haa kicked up about nursing, hospital cleaners, bus drivers and care workers wearing masks”

            Hospital and Care staff are somewhat different case, but there has been a lot of hysteria regarding masks, and now they appear to have become the alternate fashon accessory – becoming form over function? We need to be lead by science, not gesture politics & fashion!

            “If I wear a mask and antibac gel my hands and try to keep my distance, wash my clothes when I return from areas with other people I reduce my risk end of.”

            Yes masks reduce risk, but then so does simple clinical scrubbing-up, social distancing, and not placing ones self into risky situations (I bet the care staff you mention will not be allowed to visit any pubs just yet…). What you describe above was, after all, exactly what doctors and nurses did who still went on to catch (or vis-versa, give) CV19 from/to their patients, some of who later died.

            I’m not suggesting masks should be prohibited, but then nor should not wearing a mask.

            A mask correctly used can indeed help, on the other-hand if masks were to be mandated many will wear masks incorrectly -the wrong mask for the task, incorrectly worn; and all with the increased risk that the CV19 (a)symptomatic believing a mask will prevent them spreading the virus, surely the worst of all scenarios.

            There is also the increased danger of infected masks being abandoned in the street etc, creating another health hazard, in the same way as dog excrement is more of a public health danger than the unhealthy dog who produced it.

  6. Stred
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    The Public Health England stats show that schools are the second most likely buildings after care homes to suffer outbreaks of flu like respiratory disease. The difference between flu and covid is that covid does not produce many symptoms in children but teachers can be affected and no one knows whether children can pass it on to their families. This is what appears to have happened to my neighbours. Parents who do not want to take the risk are now to be fined for educating their children at home.

    • Stred
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      The Public Health England stats show that schools are the second most likely buildings after care homes to suffer outbreaks of flu like respiratory disease. The difference between flu and covid is that covid does not produce many symptoms in children but teachers can be affected and no one knows whether children can pass it on to their families. This is what appears to have happened to my neighbours. Parents who do not want to take the risk are now to be fined for educating their children at home.
      Re Surveillance of Flu and other respiratory diseases
      Wintet 2019- 2020

      • Roy Grainger
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

        So home schooling is now banned is it ? What on earth are you on about ?

        • Stred
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

          Parent’s who have been educating their children at home together with their grandparents will now be fined if they wish to continue. The family will have to split with grandparents protected while the children will have to go back to indoctrination by the blob.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I feel the bigger risk to these teachers and their pupils is if they carry on in July and August and go on a fortnights holiday abroad, then bring different covid19 strains back to the UK again, remember it was lots of them returning from the half term holiday that became super spreaders. Personally I feel all teachers and pupils who do go abroad need to quarantine for a fortnight staff on Statutory sick pay because they had a choice to do this or not before they return to the classroom to ensure any carriers have been isolated for the requisite period.

      • jerry
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

        @a-tracy; You single out teachers and the families of school children with your argument, which does have merit, but it applies to anyone taking a fortnights holiday abroad, and in some cases perhaps even holidays here in the UK.

        • a-tracy
          Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          Jerry, I agree any worker who goes abroad and comes back to the U.K. and works indoors with more than two people in close proximity could cause a risk, but fellow adult workers are less likely to go hugging and kissing elderly grandparents for the next few months. If just one worker returns from abroad and enters the workplace is found to have covid19 then they put the entire fellow workforce at risk of closure and restricted earnings, how is this fair if their fellow workers have decided the risk is too great at the moment!

          I would be placing any returning worker from abroad on compulsory quarantine away from others, they’d be putting the rest of our livelihoods at too much risk.

          Having had 3 children go through school, September was always a peak month in transferred illness usually thanks to returning from holidays abroad with new strains of illnesses they’ve never had before, difference with this virus is we’re told there is no cure.

          • jerry
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

            @a-tracy; “If just one worker returns from abroad and enters the workplace is found to have covid19 then they put the entire fellow workforce at risk of closure and restricted earnings”

            As could to anyone returning from a week or twos holiday somewhere in the UK – or vis-versa, a local resident becomes infected by the holiday-maker, the local person then going on to infect their local workplace with the same effect.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

            Thinking about this I agree Jerry I think anyone away from their home base mixing with others on coaches, trains, internal flights and buses and other similar multi occupancy vehicles and not able to keep good distances from others as they can’t in international travel should quarantine or get tested on their return before going back in to large workforce areas.

          • jerry
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

            @a-tracy; Multi occupancy vehicles are irrelevant, nor is the travellers destination or origin, although such factors do increase risk.

            Someone can be asymptomatic travelling by themselves, in their own car, train, boat, even Learjet, they then start infecting others upon their arrival, of course they could self isolate for 14 days upon arrival, whether they have travelled 10,000 miles or just 10…

  7. Ian Wragg
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    Straight away the Brussels Broadcasting Company had a spokesman on saying how difficult it will be etc.etc.
    Private schools and businesses have coped but not the left wing teachers unions.
    Any school that fails to open should be taken over directly and the teachers sacked. Do what Reagan did in the 80s with air traffic control.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      I agree Ian. How do other countries matter. I’m glad we’re not fighting a real war. The unions would put all kinds of obstacles in the way.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink


    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      So who is going to teach, then?

      • NickC
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        So who is teaching now?

        • Fred H
          Posted July 4, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

          It feels a bit like my opinion of the South Western Railway driver strikers – hurry up for driverless trains – and school halls (replacing rooms) for 100 fitted out with desks and a large video screen. Teach remotely with ‘good’ teachers. Trouble makers hauled out and excluded.
          I can hear the howls of derision…

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        There’ll be plenty of graduates out of work and middle-aged engineers who could teach maths and physics with some training through July and August, if current teacher resign.

        I’d put each teacher in the classroom now setting work, recording video lessons, log on -45 minute lessons they’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

    • jerry
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

      @Ian Wragg; Makes a change from the hard right always saying how easy it will be etc.etc.

      Hasn’t turned out to well in the USA has it, for all the hard rights bluster, and no I’m not just repeating the MSM, I have friends who live in the southern Sates/cities worst hit by DJT’s folly….

      • NickC
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, Apart from DJT locking down flights in February, most of the policy decisions on the ground have been made by state and local governments, quite often Democrats. It’s time you stopped repeated the hard lefts bluster.

        • jerry
          Posted July 4, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

          @NickC; “It’s time you stopped repeated the hard lefts bluster”

          Yet you think it OK to repeat the blustering of the hard right MSM as proven fact – hmm…

          Back in the real world though … it is for the POTUS to declare a Federal public health emergency and more importantly the measures needed to deal with it, not the 50 governors, nor even the House of Representatives or Senate.

          Also, if you think the above is wrong, that the problems are being caused by Democrat governors, and (D) politicos in Washington DC, please explain the very high day-on-day infections rates in States such as Arizona, Texas & Florida, all governed by Republican Party politicians. Might it have had something to do them with wishing to help ‘their’ POTUS get the economy reopened in time for Memorial Weekend whilst States such as the NY (D) remained stead fast in lock-down?

          Reply So far Democrat New Jersey and New York have had the worst outbreaks

          • NickC
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

            Jerry, Yet again you grasp for the strawman strategy as you put words into my mouth. I did not say that the problems are caused by Democrat politicians, I clearly said: “most of the policy decisions on the ground have been made by state and local governments, quite often Democrats” ie: don’t blame Trump exclusively as you originally did.

          • jerry
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 11:49 am | Permalink

            @JR reply; Yes, but NY and NJ had high infection rates very early in the epidemic (hence why ventilators from all across the USA were being sent to NY in particular), common sense would suggest other States would learn from the mistakes made in NY and NJ, but no.

          • jerry
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; “[grasping for a] strawman strategy as you put words into my mouth”

            Oh look, it’s Mr Pot again, trying to insult the entire kitchen, never mind just Mr Kettle…

            You talk of stawmen, so why did you bring up the total irrelevance of DJT banning incoming flights back in early February, considering we are talking about events & WH policy since Easter. No one is doubting that the POTUS took action back in late January into February, the problem and debate is about events since.

            Remember when the current POTUS pleaded for churches to be packed full on Easter Sunday, remember when he told people to go out and celibate the Memorial Day weekend, wanting shops, bars and camp-sites reopened?

            Its a question of leadership, but then perhaps you don’t think that was in the job spec for the current POTUS…

          • NickC
            Posted July 5, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

            Because, Jerry, you blamed Donald Trump alone. You said that “southern states/cities worst hit by DJT’s folly” – without caveats. I merely corrected your one sided claim by adding in the caveats.

          • jerry
            Posted July 6, 2020 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; For pithy sake! How many POTUS do you think there are, DJT is Commander in Chief, the buck stops with him because as CiC he can issue Executive Orders & Presidential proclamation.

            Some on the alt-right seem to think of DJT as some kind of political trophy, not a working president, or perhaps it’s just selective blindness again…

            Had Hillary Clinton won back in 2016, and the same decisions made, you and many others on this site would be castigating her from your roof tops with loud-hailers, indeed as @hefner points out further down, when Democrat governors fail that is exactly what the GOP and their supporters do.

        • hefner
          Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

          The funny bit in the above comment is that of today the worst hit states in the USA are Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. Three of them have Republican Governors (AZ Doug Dacey, FL Ron DeSantis, TX Greg Abbott) who originally followed DJT’s lines and were opposed to any form of lockdown. Interestingly in CA, the Democrat Governor, Gavin Newsom, is facing an attempt by CA Republicans to have him recalled … over his too weak response to Covid-19.

          NickC, all that information is available to anybody curious enough to check before writing incoherent comments.
          If in your book checking facts is hard left, well, may I introduce the following motion, that not checking is a stupid right-wing behaviour.

          The states that so far experienced the highest death rates were both Democrat – New Jersey and New York. The virus has been cruel to both parties.

          • hefner
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

            Another interesting comment by Sir John: Indeed the states originally hit by CV-19 were New York and New Jersey … 10 weeks ago. Since then it could have been expected that Governors in all states would/could have taken relevant preventative measures. DJT’s procrastination certainly did not help Governors taking these timely measures.

          • NickC
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

            Hefner, Which is why I said: “most of the policy decisions on the ground have been made by state and local governments, quite often Democrats” – that is, the virus has been cruel to both parties, and Trump is not exclusively to blame.

          • jerry
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; That’s like claiming it’s for the leaders of the UK Country Councils & Metropolitan authorities to collectively declare a UK wide emergency!

            There is only authority that can do so, either here in the UK or in the USA, national/Federal government, that is Downing Street (PM) in the UK and the White House (POTUS) in the USA.

            But even if you are right, (R) Governors are still not doing the right things, it is falling to local counties to make decisions, such as mandating masks (not that I agree with that!) and now even “Shelter in Place” orders because their local hospitals are beyond capacity.

          • NickC
            Posted July 5, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, The USA states retain many state powers – it is a federal country. Therefore many of the Cv19 related decisions were taken at state level, and not at the PotUS level. Your irrational hatred of Trump has misled you.

          • jerry
            Posted July 6, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

            NickC; Sorry but you really have no understanding of how US politics works.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Jerry – Trump was told to but out of the individual States decisions. They allowed large group protests in these States 4000 people met in Arizona, thousands in three key outbreak areas in Florida but not a word is spoken about that, yet we know from catching the disease to it Working it’s way through people into hospital spikes is 3-6 weeks.

        • jerry
          Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          @a-tracy; You obviously do not understand the R#, were did those recent 4000 protesters who infected others get their infection, might it have something to do with the federal holidays around May 25. The current POTUS pleaded with States to reopen their economies in time for those holidays, Stay Home orders were lifted, bars were allowed to re-open etc.

          Also even if you are correct, that State Governors were the ones allowed economic unlocking etc, the POTUS can over-rule State Governors in a national emergence, do you honestly believe he could not have got such emergency legislation through Capitol Hill?

          Nor would Trump want to ban protest rallies, he needs the right-wing to protest their support for him – banning only Democrat or left-wing rallies and protests, but then organising his own, would be seen for what it is!

          It would not surprise me if DJT announces he has decided not to seek re-election, handing the GOP baton to Pence – those DJT come back rallies have failed, other than as a source for CV19 infections perhaps, whilst there is also significant disquiet within the GOP and recent polling suggests he is loosing support in key States – he won’t resign, but not seeking re election can be spun as a personal decision.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            by the same token where did the infections come from at the Memorial weekend? Are you implying someone is releasing this virus on purpose?

          • jerry
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

            @a-tracy; Were did the The Easter holidays perhaps when DJT had wanted the churches full, he back tracked but was it to little to late to stop such gatherings and then family gathering on top, be that at home or at camp-sites etc – and who wears a mask when around ones extended family.

            The virus was (and is) still in general circulation through-out the USA, without a long enough lock-down and proper social distancing the R# will never come down, quite the opposite…

        • hefner
          Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

          a-tracy: ‘not a word is spoken about that’, ridiculous comment. If you were not living in a fish bowl and were reading a (true) variety of media, possibly international press in English, you would realise that your English-centric (ethnocentric) view of the world can be at times rather limited.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

            I mainly read the Guardian and BBC news hefner I used to read the Telegraph too but I didn’t think it was worth the subscription.

          • a-tracy
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

            Oh I forgot, I also like to read the Financial Times, the odd Spectator article, worldwide blogs, Reuters, YouTube and news tweets from all over the world including articles from Sputnik too, there are lots of worldwide news stories that are referred to that you can access for free but I don’t just look at a story from one side I often read several articles from different sources about the same incident to get a more rounded opinion.

          • NickC
            Posted July 5, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

            Hefner, For someone so supposedly wide read as you claim to be, you were certainly ill-informed about the Brexit groundswell.

  8. Nigl
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Some schools have done a good job with remote learning so many haven’t presumably? I haven’t heard one peep out of HMG demanding they all provide the service. All I have heard is unions refusing to help in any way and your helpless Education minister ‘flapping his arms’ to zero effect. I suppose all the teachers have been getting paid for doing nothing.

    Why wasn’t remote learning applied nationally?

    Regrettably you have been shown up as weak and in hock to the unions. Our children deserved better but have been let down all round.

    • Amanda
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      That does, unfortunately, appear to be the case. The same applies to the BLM riots – totally ineffectual Government in the face of unacceptable behaviour by public servants – in this case the Poluce.

      The only robust action seems to have come from Mr Frost with the EU – well done to him. A robust attitude to China is also seemingly being forced into Government thinking. Let’s hope the Electoral Commission also now receives it’s just desserts followed by the BBC.

      An 80 seat majority and the widespread public anger at iconoclasm, insults and injustice should be used to good effect.

      • NickC
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Amanda, Just so, well said.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      Effectively the extreme, far-left teaching unions ( indulged by the govt.) have gone on strike. ( It is 1979 all over again except no Mrs T. the offing.)
      And there is nothing this liberal govt is willing to do about it.
      I would say that September is not a certainty either…what with nonsensical rumblings re “Second Wave” and dark muttering about no return until things are “safe”.
      Boris should say…”Listen children…Life is NOT safe…disease is an unavoidable reality and it is quite possible to SACK teachers.” But he won’t.

      And this craven terror even extends to allowing destructive, thieving, marauding rioters to roam the streets and constant flights and boats INTO the UK from apparently Covid-rich countries. not really scared of harm to the law abiding, tax paying population but TERRIFIED of the Left and its scary name-calling.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        *in the offing

    • BeebTax
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:43 am | Permalink

      +1. The teacher I know is annoyed she has to work two days a week for full pay, and can’t wait for the “holidays” to start. She doesn’t have any great health concerns, just has got used to full pay for next to no work. Of course they and their unions want this to go on for as long as they can string it out, and remote working would be a hindrance to their self-imposed leisure.

      • glen cullen
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

        common case

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        They should be in the classroom five days a week working out for themselves how to fix this, they are supposed to be educators.

    • jerry
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      @Nigl; “[remote learning] I haven’t heard one peep out of HMG demanding they all provide the service.”

      The govt will not demand any such action from schools because to do so would simply expose the dire state of national infrastructure in the UK from not having proper full time educational TV any more [1] to not having FTTB/FTTP broadband to all domestic addresses and at a price all can afford, and even if we had one or both it assumes the child has adequate access to their own TV and/or computer (and no a tablet or mobile phone is not adequate).

      “All I have heard is unions refusing to help in any way”

      But then selective hearing does tend to filter those inconvenient truths… Teachers and their trade unions have been offering to help, what they refuse to help with though is endangering the lives of themselves, the school age children and their families – being lead by the science, not the economics.

      [1] remember Teachers TV, and before that when morning TV was often programmes for schools and colleges

      • NickC
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        Jerry, Oh the irony . . . “selective hearing”?? I suppose you were a teacher? You certainly have the correct didactic, and rather pompous, know-it-all manner.

        • jerry
          Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          @NickC; Not “know all”, just perhaps more widely (mis)informed. Tell me Nick, when was the last time you read Brietbart News, the Daily Mail, the Guardian and the Morning Star all on the same day (and that’s just for UK centric news)?

          Unlike you, I suspect, I hold no candles for any political party or politician, I give each a hearing until they prove otherwise, In my time I’ve supported Blair, BoJo, Callaghan, Corbyn, Farage, Heath, Thatcher, Wilson and admired many others besides, even if I disagree with them!

          For me, actions tend to mean more than words, anyone can read a word perfect, crafted, speech…

          • Fred H
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            please explain what you mean by ‘supported’.
            Voted for them? You disagreed with them!
            Breathtakingly strange.

          • jerry
            Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

            @Fred H; Not sure why you think it “Breathtakingly strange”. Some of those I have supported I have voted for yes, others I’ve defended even though I never ended up voting for them. Nor was my list exhaustive!

            I admired (for example) both Tony Benn’s & Dennis Skinner’s political passion, although I found little to agree with, neither would have been my choice of PM, but that said, had they carried popular support at least we would all have known the road the country was to travelling – sign posts, not political weather vanes!

          • Fred H
            Posted July 5, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            so answer the question (I agree Skinner gets to the point like no other!). What is ‘supported’ to you?
            You often don’t agree, you often didn’t vote for them – so what form did support take?
            Defended in the pub, after a few drinks?
            I understand often where Alan Johnson is coming from – read his books, have sympathy for some views – but can’t imagine ever voting for him, nor the thrust of his politics….so ‘support him ‘ NO!

          • jerry
            Posted July 6, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

            @Fred H; Sorry but all the time you think “support” = voting for someone nothing I say will help your confusion.

            Your comments above suggest you think it impossible that someone can give support but then take that support away. I get the feeling your politics are tribal, blind faith, not based on past deeds & future promises. When was the last time you actually bothered to read either the party manifesto or the candidates personal message of the candidate you voted for?

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      If schools were a business at the start of this outbreak the Head of the School couldn’t just throw their hands up in the air and just ask the staff (and their representatives) what they should do about getting work out to the children, they’re not ALL going to volunteer to carry on coming in to their classroom and start setting work for home and marking work handed in, giving out books for reading and setting reading tests and reviews, maths papers to mark, when they get paid a full wage regardless for sitting at home are they? Head Office should have taken over during the Easter Holiday and set out a proper plan, I feel Williamson appeared to have gone absent and just left them to as they wished if different he needs to explain.

      Are they going to return to anything like a normal school year, will lessons like Music, drama, team sports go ahead or will physical education classes be Joe Wicks and other YouTube exercise gurus take the lesson, bring your own exercise mat? If they really can’t work it out for themselves how to do it they need to get some business specialists who have safely re-opened to volunteer to sort it out for them.

      Will children be asked to bring in their own laptop (at least that would give you an idea of who had access and can do online lessons). Perhaps schools should ask people locally to donate their old wiped laptops and redistribute them it wouldn’t take long for the IT teacher to wipe them completely so that everyone can get connected quickly.

      Children learn so much now from YouTube videos, it is amazing the content freely available, everything from baking a cake to pulling a dent out of a car, someone in the Education Department needs to start getting a list of the best of these in relation to the curriculum like home educators do there are plenty of blogs that specialise in lesson planning for home learning.

    • miami.mode
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Cometh the hour, goeth the government.

      They were simply overwhelmed, probably ill-advised at times with many actively making it as difficult as possible, and “flapping” seems the mot juste.

  9. Everhopeful
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    Education such as it ever was, only served to prepare children for specific lives.
    The lives decreed by the same class that has now destroyed everything.
    What are they to learn now? Social distancing and hand-washing techniques?
    And FEAR?

    • Amanda
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      It is an opportunity to throw out the social engineering and knuckle down on the 3 Rs and Science. The one thing that should have been learnt from the EU is never to let a crisis go to waste !! The long march can change direction with the right prevailing wind. And that wind is now blowing.

      • acorn
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Sadly Amanda, I think you are seriously going to be let down, along with all the other “leave” voters. Have a read of

        Boris is betting on the EU caving in at the eleventh hour. He says he is planning for a “no-deal” brexit as a threat to the EU; to force them into a submission. There are no signs of any physical infrastructure being built and staffed to handle a “no-deal” situation next January; the EU is well aware of that.

        Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland protocol requirements of the Withdrawal Agreement, are quietly being implemented by HMRC. That is, the EU frontier will move into the Irish Sea. Something Boris said would never happen. Remember, Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU single market and customs union.

        • NickC
          Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

          Acorn, And Barnier’s “speech” isn’t self-serving in what way?

    • Fred H
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      but many now know what a ventilator is, how a virus test is carried out, a bit more about a funeral, possibly what a coroner is, will be familiar with a Hazmat (biohazard ) suit and understand washing hands is good!
      They may have liked or disliked being bossed about more by parents, and may have new respect for teachers…

  10. Steve
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    The CDC in America says that children have a 0.0% chance of dying from the alleged virus. No cases have been found where a child has passed on the virus to anyone yet this government and it’s employees are so frightened of shadows they won’t let children return for their education. Now as someone that thinks state indoctrination is a very bad thing I regard this as excellent for the kids but shows just how rare critical thinking is and how we have been railroaded into destroying the economy for a virus (if it exists at all) that is merely a mild flu.

    • NickC
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      Steve, Cv19 does exist. I have had it. Or I had a virus which produced remarkably similar symptoms. It was like no other infection that I’ve ever had. I was out for four days but at no time did I have anything wrong with my ears, nose, or throat. It was all in my chest (lungs).

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        NickC, I have a colleague he was convinced he’d had covid19 very similar symptoms off work for three days plus the weekend to recover for the first time in 30 years, he’s on a test program with blood tests and regular testing kits done by professionals, they say he hasn’t had it, he’s not sure why he has a regular test.

  11. David_Kent
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    One of my nephews is scandalized that one of his children, in private school, is getting a full day of tuition while the other, at a state school, has received almost no support from his school. He is trying to assemble the money so he can send both to private school in September but he works as a consultant in the City so his job is precarious.

  12. Dave Andrews
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Children aren’t very susceptible to the disease, but they can still carry the infection, pass it around themselves and their families.
    Opening up schools is a resumption of the herd immunity doctrine. The idea that schools will implement precautions – utter tosh.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

      Without a vaccine it’s a choice between herd immunity and lockdowns for the rest of our days.

      There needs to be a full assessment of what kills more people. Covid or Lockdown ?

      • NickC
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

        Anon, Correct.

      • BeebTax
        Posted July 4, 2020 at 6:55 pm | Permalink


  13. bigneil(newercomp)
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    If you are a parent with two kids at the same school, but in different years, and drive them there, do you have to sit outside with the later starter after the early starter has gone in – and repeat when school finishes for the day – also at two different times?

  14. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    As one purpose of school is to prepare children for work it seems a good idea to split schooling, for the 6th form at least, between some work at school and some home working because that’s the format work itself is likely to take in the future.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Roy most 6th formers who are taking 3 A levels only do about three days, even if you take 5 A levels there are 5 free hours in a 25 hour curriculum.

  15. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

    This government has spread fear throughout the population – save the NHS – protect from the virus.

    Any worker who does not want to return to work but wishes to remain being paid can demand to see scientific evidence that they are being protected, at work and their travel to their job. How does an employers demand they return to the place of work if they have been working (below capacity) at home? This is what has happened with the teachers.

    (Many) Teachers have been marking time at home doing the minimum required, setting work and making the occasional phone call to parents, having a rare class tutorial by Google classroom or Teams to remain visible. The unions are able to say, it is not safe to return and the kids are being taught anyway so its not the end of the world. It is a microcosm of the whole economy.

    Government has to remove the fear factor, hopefully tomorrow’s reopening of hospitality will not result in a spike and we can say that social distancing measures and face coverings reduce the risk and thus reduce the fear.

  16. Nigl
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Ps off topic but related to your difficulties. I see HMG employs 4000 spin doctors plus No 10 press officers. 4000! An obscene number and no doubt responsible for the fragmented shambles that is your comms operation.

    Apparently this number is going to be reduced, by a lot I hope, and the messages coordinated and sharpened up.

    Not before time. I trust you will not allow any slippage.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Thank goodness and not one quality orator at the moment in England, females seem to come over better when addressing health matters on tv (probably because of mothers caring/nursing roles in the family). I’d like to see Andrea Jenkyns get any required media training to handle some of these interviews, information podcasts she is warm and friendly and sharp witted. McVey is too sharp and cold in interviews sorry.

  17. a-tracy
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    The lowest grades if they are in their GCSE year will need to be randomly tested and if they are three months behind I believe you will have to reset the year for them because they won’t catch up and could miss out on A level choices.

  18. Iain Moore
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    “It is also the case that some children get more help at home than others”

    The trouble is we have parents who can’t be helped. During the lockdown the government laid on school places for children from deprived families, but it seems a fair proportion just couldn’t be bothered to avail themselves of that opportunity. The government has been blackmailed into handing out thousands of computers to these families , no doubt we will soon be seeing them sold on ebay. I also gather there is an attempt to tutor these children in an attempt to lift their dire educational standard, but no doubt it will be another opportunity squandered.

    Whenever I hear the word ‘vulnerable’ my heart sinks, it does not elicit any feeling of charity from me, when some home truths would do a lot more good than all the welfare lavished on them vulnerable is used to silence any criticism.

  19. Anonymous
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    We’ve heard a lot from *can’t do* teachers who find it impossible to open up schools in a pandemic.

    So what do they think it’s like being a government trying to run a whole country ?

    How many teachers and school children were on Bournemouth beach ? How many at BLM demonstrations ? How many use supermarkets ?

    • Ian Wragg
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Don’t confuse them with facts. Many, not all teachers think they are a special breed. Parents will now know who are dedicated and who aren’t.

  20. ukretired123
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    The dinosaur teaching unions have had a monopoly for too long and blockers to change. The business world has changed dramatically yet the standard of education has gone into reverse esp after Blair’s 3 x Education mantra, Academy building and 50% to “Uni” (with old Polytechs and Technical colleges “promoted”). Secondary schools should be making better use of modern teaching technology esp now remote working is important going into the future as amply demonstrated this last 4 months. The writing is on the wall but many don’t see it. The Cost/ Benefits justify flexible 21st Century teaching as the best way forward to give children real life skills not just promoted young passengers.

  21. Caterpillar
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Although the Secretary of State for Education has much on his plate at the moment (the virus, the militant unions and a pathetic media), I hope that once the U.K. is through this (or even in parallel) his department deeply investigates and learns from two points:-

    (1) In many of the countries that are at the top of the education league tables, the teachers teach for fewer hours than those in the U.K. In several of these countries the number of hours that teachers physically deliver reduces from the lower primary through to senior secondary years – Denmark is a leading example of this. Indeed in some of the countries the pupils also have fewer hours of contact. The teachers in these countries, as well as being resourced, are able to spend time on quality (designed in, not inspected in) and other pupil support, and perhaps pupils with less contact behave differently in those periods.

    (2) A (the) major factor of success for U.K. pupils is home/contact group culture. (i) . Looking at the 2018 results for a GCSE grade of at least 5 in both English and Maths, one finds (Free School Meal is considered the proxy for lower income/SEC);
    White British (FSM) 17.2%
    White British (no FSM) 45.8%
    Black African (FSM) 33.7%
    Black African (no FSM) 46.9%
    Black Caribbean (FSM) 15.7%
    Black Caribbean (no FSM) 36.1%
    Indian (FSM) 43.1%
    Indian (no FSM) 63.4%
    Chinese (FSM) 67.3%
    Chinese (no FSM) 75.7%
    In all cases there is a within group effect of FSM, but the most startling difference is between groups, in particular the Indian and Chinese ethnicity performance compared with White British and Black (Gov websites provide more groups and detail, the above is just extracted for example). The contribution of (home/contact group) culture to performance is further indicated by (a) the higher performance of some religious schools (notably Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh) and (b) in home observational studies in the USA.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      This is just depressing Caterpillar.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted July 4, 2020 at 1:50 pm | Permalink


  22. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    They say teenagers are at risk because they will go on mixing at close quarters with their friends. Isn’t this a good opportunity to teach them responsibility for themselves and others?

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      I don’t expect that it will make any difference how they mix.
      I’m sure that we could all learn from them and from the results of the example they set.

  23. Caterpillar
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I have much sympathy and admiration for those secondary and FE teachers who will be spending their summers doing double or treble preparation; preparing for 100% classroom delivery, 100% online delivery and blended approaches – being stripped of their intellectual property. These teachers are admirable, and I hope not too tired when they return in September. Of course not all teachers will be the same, as in all work places there is a variation of dedication, other responsibilities, ability etc. I do fear that once (if) the economy is allowed to recover that many of these teachers will be the ones that leave the profession.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 4, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Perhaps on-line delivery should be provided by others, specialists in this medium, they don’t have to be British teachers we could buy in lessons from the specialists already providing this in Australia, New Zealand, America and then our teachers can enjoy their summer off work completely.

  24. Fedupsoutherner
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    So there is a spike in the number of infections I’m London boroughs. Who would have thought it after all those meaningless protests?

  25. Andy
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Unlike the vast majority of contributors to this site I actually have school aged children. One at a state secondary. One at a private junior school. I have been home-schooling them. So, unlike most of you, I actually have direct experience of this and of both types of school.

    Both have been pretty good, though the state secondary has been better than the private school – because it is easier to teach older kids online.

    I also know the headteachers of both schools and have spoken to both of them within the last 24 hours. They are exasperated by the appallingly poor way in which the government has handled schools. Even by the standards of these ministerial clowns it has been abysmal.

    Unlike most of you – who have been safely at home since March moaning and still receiving 100% of your pension – teachers have been going into schools, which have remained open for vulnerable children and the children of key workers. Some of those key workers have had their salaries cut. Teachers have also had to completely rethink the way they work – offering remote lessons is completely different and many have had to start from scratch.

    The teachers I know – and the teachers at both of my children’s schools – have never worked harder. The notion that they are skiving because of lefty unions is complete trash. It is just not true.

    The real problem is an incompetent government. We do not care what ministers say because those ministers are demonstrably useless. Each of us is just doing the best for our family.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      Mine have just finished their Masters degrees.

      They completed their finals in my house.

    • Fred H
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      ‘ I have been home-schooling them.’

      Poor kids – – indoctrination at their tender ages.

    • NickC
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      Andy, One of your characteristics is to believe that only you know something when you have first discovered it. In reality,we’ve (most of us) have been there, done that.

      The vast majority of contributors to this site either have, or have had, school age children. And have dealt with teachers. The older commenters also have grandchildren. And most of us have home schooled these children. I know we had to because some of the teachers were useless. We already know what you’ve just learnt.

    • Richard1
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

      Whenever you post the tone reminds us why it is that elections in recent years have thrown up such surprising – and very welcome – disappointments for the left. Long may it continue.

      As ever, your comments are drivel. Loads of children in the state sector are receiving no effective education and loads of teachers, at the behest of left wing unions, are doing nothing. Independent schools on the other hand – maybe the one you have chosen is an exception – are doing a fantastic job adapting.

      We should make every School independent.

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      Where in the State league table is the High School your teenager goes to? You’ve told us many times how wealthy you are, are you in a selective high school catchment, I wonder how many pupils on FSM there are at your High School?

  26. Ed M
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    It would be really great if Conservatives could promote the prayer book of Jane Austen (she compiled many prayers covering many important duties of the Christian in daily life) to children in schools and in general.

    Jane Austen represents the best what is British. Humorous, witty, intelligent, down-to-earth, practical, modest, hard-working, principled and so on.

    She was also a Conservative (in every sense), a royalist and a patriot with an interesting background from many spheres of British life: Merchant Class, Gentry, Armed Forces, Clergy etc .. Although she wasn’t married (she did have a strong romance), she came from a happy, family life – and believed that The Family was central to people’s lives (and look at how strong families are central to the strength of a nation). Now sadly, millions depend more on The State than the Family.

    She was also a devout, traditional Christian woman that underpinned everything she did.

  27. Lifelogic
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Not at all pleasant to hear the shrill tones of Theresa May from Parliament the other day. A period of silence from the worst PM for very many years would be most welcome (about 20 years minimum please). Just as it would be from John Major.

    Everytime I hear either of them it reminds me of either her gross incompetence, attempted betrayal and dishonesty and in his case the appalling “if it is not hurting it is not working” ERM fiasco. For which he did not even apologise.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Her voice and that of Major too were instant aversion therapy triggers.
      I couldn’t switch off radio or TV soon enough at the sight or sound of either one.
      Major’s pathetic plea. “Don’t bind my hands”.
      My goodness! We couldn’t bind them tight enough!
      And, like today, who is listening in the higher echelons of the Government?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 5, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink


    • Andy
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      She was spot on. David Frost is clearly unqualified to be National Security Adviser. He has insufficient relevant experience and has failed in his only high profile job to date. If he is the best person the Brexiteers can find then your talent pool is even shallower than I thought.

      • beresford
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

        Au contraire, he is a success in not caving into the EU like his predecessors. The guy moving out into a goldplated pension was a Remainer who was prepared to sabotage the democratic wishes of the British people.

      • NickC
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

        Andy, If your ego grows any larger, it will burst like a soggy balloon.

  28. Ed M
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    If we want to get The State right down and Tax right down (which I believe it can come right down), then we have to focus on building up The Family as the alternative over The State.

    That means men who have to grow up quickly and learn their responsibilities towards their family as father and husband. That means women have to grow up quickly and learn their responsibilities towards their family as mother and wife. And also the responsibility they have to their parents. And of children showing proper respect to their parents.

    This is how we create a strong and stable country in every sense. Diminishing The State and bringing down tax hugely as well as bringing down mental illnesses and physical illnesses (‘stable’ people in strong families are more healthy mentally and physically – lots of evidence to show this) – saving NHS billions and making people more productive, bringing down crime and corruption, increasing sense of patriotism and sense of public duty, increasing the arts, and so forth, and making the country more interesting and unified in general.

  29. davews
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Having seen the requirements being put on the schools they are just as crazy as the rules on pubs, restaurants, churches. All written by civil servants who have no idea how we lead our lives. As the virus goes away we seem to be introducing even more poppycock restrictions for no other purpose than to prolong project fear. The onerous demands put on pubs will be the first to be flouted tomorrow and I expect when (or if) the schools go back in September many will realise the rules are unnecessary bureaucracy.

    • Jim Whitehead
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink


    • Anonymous
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      People have worked it out for themselves. My trip to the supermarket today was more or less NORMAL in how people were behaving.

      So where is the spike ?

      Where is the spike from the BLM riots in London ?

    • beresford
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. Control numbers, discourage shouting and singing, prevent crowds from restricting access to the bar, all this is common sense. But why can’t you obtain your drink over the counter the same as at Greggs or similar outlets? Why do you have to give Matt Hancock your name and address? Petty restrictions intended to give an impression of ‘doing something’.

  30. MWB
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Why can’t there be a public finances rescue tax, kevied only upon public workers ?
    This might compensate for the expense of the furlough scheme,, making those who are unaffetcted, pay for those that are affected.
    Public worker such as teacherss, just sail blithely through all crises, with their inflation linked entitlement culture.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Good idea!

  31. Francis Lankester
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    If we were to treat flu like Covid then we would have to close the schools in the flu season every year. The average age of death from Covid is in the late 70’s and is heavily linked to co-morbidities, especially diabetes. Children are less affected than by flu. Covid can cause long-term damage to someone who has recovered, but so can flu. The damage now being caused by lockdown is serious and increasing week by week.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Lockdown is a killer.

      And most of the people who died of CV19 were old and still lived far longer than the life expectancy when they were born.

    • NickC
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      Francis, Very true.

  32. ian
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    The only thing gov is worried about is getting women back to work who are bringing up kids, and for that, they need schools open and back to normal.

  33. margaret
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    My grandchildrens’ school have done well in making available work on line however lack of concentration is a factor in home learning. The children are too easily distracted.
    In a classroom where all are focusing on the teachers advice the children are more likely to engage in the learning as they see their peers doing the same.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      My nephew had his children dressed in their school uniforms every day, doing lessons.

      • Fred H
        Posted July 4, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        did you call Social Services about ill-treatment?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted July 5, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink


  34. Iain Gill
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    We have to get the swimming pools open too. Even if only for a few people at a time.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      Oh. What will happen if “we” don’t?

      • beresford
        Posted July 3, 2020 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        ‘We’ will become obese and unnecessary health problems will ensue which will overload the NHS.

  35. hefner
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    O/T: I see that Germany has already cut its VAT rates (from 1/07 to 31/12/2020), the standard rate from 19 to 16%, the reduced rate from 7 to 5%.

    • hefner
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      And a new French government is on its way after Edouard Philippe’s demission and the nomination of Jean Castex (Mr Deconfinement) as Prime Minister. Interesting times.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      And they were already far lower than the very high 20% rate of the UK.

      Clearly the government want taxes to be well over 100% – with 20% VAT, NI both circa 23%, income tax up to 45%, council tax, landfill tax, fuel duty, road tax, carbon taxes, CGT on non real gains, landlord taxes (on profits not made), alcohol duty, fuel duty, road tax, IPT insurance tax …….. it must be getting rather close to 100% marginal rates or over for many.

  36. DrPeterVC
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Schools back to how they were.

    1. Wash your hands.
    2. All face the front.
    3. Teacher at front desk – you went up and handed work in.

    No more pointless full school assemblies with parents dragged out of work expected to attend. No more “learn through play”, “group learning”, “facilitated learning” ….

    Could it possibly be schools used to be like that for a reason?

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 5, 2020 at 2:15 pm | Permalink


  37. BJC
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone been brave enough to question the purpose of trades unions nowadays? Clearly, in the past they had a genuine role to play, but most of the changes they sought were enshrined in law many years ago. They appear to have evolved into organisations that are of little value to their membership except in seeking ways to prevent them having to work.

    Disgracefully, our children are now being used as pawns to score political points and to exacerbate an already precarious situation. The campaign by the smug, hard-left teaching unions is designed to keep the entire country in their iron grip, ably assisted by their left-wing council power brokers. The NEU site even goes as far as to suggest that social distancing and hand washing can increase risk, whilst being silent on the benefits. We simply cannot afford to return to the days when we were all held to ransom on the specious claims of a few power-crazed union barons. No-one claimed it would be easy to return to some form of normality, but equally, it’s not the impossibility these unions would have us believe.

  38. Thomas E
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    The idea of year group bubbles doesn’t make sense to me. Most siblings are different ages and would be in different bubbles. If one sibling gets covid the other child will get covid.

  39. Fred H
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    BBC website.
    Almost 30,000 additional people died in care homes in England and Wales during the coronavirus outbreak, Office for National Statistics figures show. The publication is the first to reveal the full toll of the epidemic in care homes, including residents who eventually died in hospital. Almost 20,000 deaths mentioned Covid-19 on the certificate, leaving about 10,000 registered to other causes.
    Care homes in England will carry out routine testing from Monday.
    There were just over 66,000 deaths of care home residents in England and Wales between 2 March and 12 June this year, compared to just under 37,000 deaths last year.
    Covid-19 was the leading cause of death for male care home residents, accounting for a third of all deaths, and the second most-common cause of death for female residents, after dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

  40. forthurst
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Children with or without Covid-19 infection are symptomless, so how exactly are the Arts graduates who presume to order our lives through government and the civil service going to detect a school with an epidemic with their centralised track and trace programme? How are they going to establish the chain of infection within a school: by talking to four year olds on the phone?

    A Biotech company that produces testing kits for Covid-19 which are widely used but require to be sent to a laboratory for a result, which in the government’s case may take up 5 days, is launching a portable integrated testing kit, Q-POC, in the Autumn which can produce a result in 25 minutes, which would be ideal for a rapid response local testing team to use at schools. The only snag of course is that no such teams exist nor for tracing either. Unless they think again, there are bound to be serious rebounds in infection because the disease has not gone away and the government’s centrally operated facilities will be too flat-footed to be timely or efficient or thorough.

  41. Richard
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    It is important to note that:
    1) There has not been a single reported instance of a child under 10 passing on the virus.
    2) Asymptomatic persons are generally not very infectious – per the WHO.
    3) Professor David Spiegelhalter, Cambridge Statistician explains why the the risks to working age people without pre-existing medical conditions is tiny.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      W.r.t. point 1 it would be interesting to compare the risk to teachers from older pupils passing on CV19 to the daily risk teachers face from pupils full stop. Between 2009 and 2015 there was an average of 8000 attacks per year that left teachers with physical injury. A quarter (!) of teachers are reported to be attacked at least once a week in some way.

      Mr Williamson has an opportunity to get teachers and unions on side by taking the opportunity to provide schools with more resource for exclusion and more reason to do so in term of behaviour endangering all. The Govt’s rush to splash cash could be useful here.

  42. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    My grandson has been using remote learning. However much effort he and his teachers put into it, he thinks that he would be learning more and more thoroughly if he was attending classes. Next year he is doing double science – a difficult option – and it is my belief that he should make every effort to catch up during the summer holidays.

    Is the Secretary of State for Education requiring schools to issue summaries of the various curricula, together with web sites to source catch-up materials? Would you please ask him that question in the Commons?

  43. Mark
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I wish I had more confidence that state schools were not Conditioning and Hatchery Centres, but rather proper educational establishments. I would be very equivocal as a parent of a schoolchild given what they seem to inculcate these days – and what they fail to teach.

    Meanwhile, here is Coronavirus – the map movie. Open in adjacent tabs of your browser, and flip between them to see how the epidemic progressed since the beginning of May. Charts are of weekly infection rates at week intervals: the date is the end date of the week. The list is in order to end June.

  44. Freeborn John
    Posted July 3, 2020 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    The FT and other Remainer press are reporting that the U.K. is trying to join the EU scheme and to procure Coronavirus virus. It would be acting supreme madness for the U.K. to voluntarily put Brussels in a position to decide whether vaccine is to be given to a British citizen or a citizen of member state of the European Union. It simply defies belief that the U.K. would do that when the leading vaccine candidate comes from the U.K. anyway. Indeed we should be doing what the EU and Remainer press do and threaten that a failure by them to agree to U.K. terms for a trade agreement will result in shortages of medical supplies including U.K. developed vaccines.

  45. hefner
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    02/07/2020 ‘Draft landscape of Covid-19 candidate vaccines’ on site.

  46. hefner
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    A judicial investigation is being opened in France against the former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and two successive Health Ministers Agnes Buzyn and Olivier Veran. This follows 90 complaints by members of the public about the handling of the pandemic by the French government, nine of which have been considered worth examining (‘recevables’) by the Court of Justice of the Republic.
    When will a similar procedure be initiated in the UK where both the numbers of infections and deaths have roughly been twice those in France?

    On a slightly different topics, when will the Parliamentary Report on alleged Russian interference in UK democracy prepared by the Intelligence Security Committee (and sent to the PM on 17 October 2019) be published?

  47. Messenger
    Posted July 4, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    “Take the guideline about lunch and break times. Staggered break times are notoriously difficult to manage, but staggered lunch times? Forget it. Suppose the school in question is a two-form entry primary. That means 14 different classes or “bubbles”. How on earth can you have 14 different lunch sittings over the course of an hour? Just managing it with two separate sittings is a logistical nightmare and often means lunch over-runs, thereby eating into the first period of the afternoon. But 14? Cloud cuckoo land. Even doing that over the entire school day would be a logistical nightmare. These guidelines, like so much that comes out of the Department for Education, have been written by a group of bureaucrats who have never set foot in a school and haven’t a clue about how to run one.”

    • a-tracy
      Posted July 5, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Well, perhaps you could extend the school opening day from 8am to 5pm and have teachers start at different times, it could help teachers commuting by public transport to take quieter later slots, the children with packed lunches could eat outside if nice or at their desk and not in the hall, those starting school at 8am could then lunch at 11am, 8:30 -11:30;9:00 – 12:00 10:00 -1300.

      • a-tracy
        Posted July 5, 2020 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        John, perhaps the government need to start getting inventive, people are served by airlines in their seat warm food on a tray two courses from heated trolleys, companies who used to supply airlines food to reheat will be looking for new outlets, airplane companies could rent schools their trolleys to take meals to each classroom warm, just a thought if the schools can’t figure things out at all.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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