Schools set to press the reset button and take back control as changing guidelines cause confusion and chaos

School leaders want to take back control of learning and education after spending a week keeping up with guidelines rather than the curriculum.
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From next week some of the city's schools are "pressing reset" and creating a more structured frame-work to cover home-learning as well as the on-site teaching that is still taking place for key worker and vulnerable children.

They will also be reflecting on changing guidelines - which in the last ten days has seen schools deemed safe, schools placed into lockdown, exams cancelled and boundaries of key worker and vulnerable children changed to the extent that almost six times as many pupils are turning up to school in this lockdown compared to the first one last year.

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Adam Ryder, head at Morley Academy and Boston Spa Academy for the Gorse Academies Trust said that before now they have just not had the time to digest the information and implement the way they would like.

Morley Academy.Morley Academy.
Morley Academy.

He said: "The last few weeks have been really hard in terms of getting guidance, reading it, making decisions. Taking the time to reflect on these and whether they are correct - that is the bit we are not getting time to do right now.

"A lot of schools are looking at reset from January 18. Primary schools are saying we need to get the balance right between home learning and learning in school. We can't do both excellently well - we have not got the staff to do that. That is where we have to look at quality of remote education and what we can do and reduce the need for parents to be sat next to their child.

"We (Morley Academy and Boston Spa) are moving, from Monday, more and more to live lessons. We know from doing that, we are giving clear instruction to young people and that point of contact with friends and teachers. That will not just help their mental health and well-being, but for parents they don't have to worry about going through that work because teachers are doing that for them. We are lucky that we can do that, but some schools just aren't in that position.

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"What school leaders are really wanting to do is take control of that information and start to move forward. The more we are in control the better for our families and young people."

It comes as schools warn they are near capacity for the numbers of pupils they can accommodate in school due to the national lockdown.

Compared to the first lockdown in March, 34 per cent of school leaders say they had 31 per cent or more of their normal roll attend school in person on Thursday, according to a poll by the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). One in ten heads say they had 41-60 per cent of their pupils come into school amid the new lockdown, the figures suggest.

In Leeds, at Morley Newlands Primary there are as many as 140 children out of the school register of 700 attending per day, compared to just 20 in the first lockdown. At Morley Academy there were between 40 to 50 students per day in school during the last lockdown compared to 160 over the last few days and Farnley Academy has 300 pupils in school at the moment which is 25 per cent of its cohort.

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