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After 18 months of sporadic education, schools need a reset

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Throughout this week, close to 9 million pupils will return to school, after 18 months of constant disruption caused by the pandemic. What have we learnt? That school is best in person, obviously – but also that the pandemic has also amplified the scale of inequalities across the national educational system.

The UK government has just launched its “back to school” campaign, revealing new measures to try and avoid further closures. One is the highly anticipated return of extracurricular activities such as drama, sports and music, all essential to our children’s development.

To enable this return to relative normality, the government is encouraging students to get vaccinated, but pupils aged 12 to 15 are not currently being offered the vaccine. To date, only teenagers above the age of 16 are eligible. This does feel a bit confusing and as vaccines are the key to keeping children at school we must ensure that the rollout is swift.

It is one thing giving schools the green light to reopen, but another to make them safe. Given the current situation, there are reasons to be cautious. Experts are now expecting a fourth wave this autumn, and our children cannot afford to miss another year of school.

This summer, more than 40 per cent........

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