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Why can’t we do what Italy are doing?

(92 Posts)
CKBJ Wed 26-Aug-20 11:30:13

In Italy schools are opening, the new term is starting. Teachers wearing face masks and visors, pupils wear masks, socially distanced in class at 1m and pupils who live with vulnerable adult(s) can have lessons remotely.

We basically have had similar cases levels of Covid as Italy albeit our hospitals weren’t over run but our death rate is higher. Surely our government could have implemented similar measures to Italy for September and possibly relaxed some of them as the term progresses rather than basically start as normal and hope for the best?

OP’s posts: |
PurpleDaisies Wed 26-Aug-20 11:32:06

Who will teach the remote lessons when all the teachers are teaching in school?

SleepingStandingUp Wed 26-Aug-20 11:36:29

pupils wear masks except the exception list is so long half of them wouldn't need to
socially distanced in class at 1m curious to know what their class sizes Vs classrooms are like. You couldn't put a 1m gap in my child's primary school and you couldn't have done it on my secondary school, which only had 600 pupils. Some comprehensive schools have a few thousand kids. The only extra space we had was a small gym, a medium sized hall and a few OT rooms in later used that weren't anyways in use. Bit they were small so spaced out would hold maybe 6 kids? Where are ask the teachers to teach these smaller groups?
Pupils who live with vulnerable adult(s) can have lessons remotely. Taught by whom and who is providing tablets/computers and decent WiFi/internet access?

BoggledBudgie Wed 26-Aug-20 11:41:07

Because we’re not Italy...

Bishybarnybee Wed 26-Aug-20 11:43:28

Most UK schools would struggle to achieve 1m distancing. Classrooms are too small, and few schools have individual desks so there would be a practical and financial issue of storing the existing tables and buying new ones.

Visors are problematic in primary because children are often below the teacher, so a visor would funnel some droplets towards them. Masks are tricky to teach in as they reduce clarity and audibility, but it may come to that.

Schools aren't being deliberately negative, it's just really challenging to find workable solutions. However, whatever we do will be a compromise, and virtually all teachers and schools agree we need to get children back in. There is just some anxiety about the consequences and a feeling the government aren't taking he issue seriously. And that few of the decision makers have ever worked in schools or have much understanding of the issues.

Katherine Birbal-Singh was on R4 this morning. She is pretty much the poster girl for Tory education philosophy. She wasn't saying children shouldn't go back, but gave a very clear explanation of why masks were problematic. It was good to hear someone who actually knows what schools are like!

VenetoResident Wed 26-Aug-20 11:43:47

A lot of Italy doesn't have WiFi access - people use mobile dongles. The phone networks have done some amazing data deals that let my kids do distance learning Feb-June - 100gb for 10€ was common.

Chloemol Wed 26-Aug-20 12:04:50

Because our schools don’t have capacity for SD inside classrooms

Because the majority of children, like parents would find some way of using the exceptions list to not wear masks

Because we don’t have enough teachers as it is to run either smaller classes, or remote classes

Because lots of children still don’t have access to laptops etc, especially in poorer areas, how will they gain access?

Because each country is different in populations, number of cases and how they have and are dealing with it, and what works for one won’t work for others

LynetteScavo Wed 26-Aug-20 12:20:37

Because we're British! Keep calm and carry on. We don't need to do anything those Europeans do, you know, because we're Great Britain 🇬🇧 and we know what's best for us!

wink

Camomila Wed 26-Aug-20 12:53:48

SleepingStandingUp
I was watching the Italian news yesterday...they showed a school in Taranto that was knocking down walls to change corridor sizes and putting up walls to make extra classrooms. All the schools seem to be buying individual uni style desks for social distancing too...I guess the government is giving schools lots of money?

I'm not sure what Italy is doing about e-learning though, IIRC they did the maturita (like our A-levels) online. I don't know whether people are more likely to have the internet in the UK or Italy though - all my cousins with kids do but they live in the richer North.

Personally I think Italy is dealing with it so well because our news was so scary/upsetting in Feb and March (the scenes in the hospitals etc). We are having hotspots amongst young people too though.

actiongirl1978 Wed 26-Aug-20 12:59:43

Our school has installed cameras to live stream each and every lesson. So any child who needs to go home can keep going.

Pricey though obvs.

Didkdt Wed 26-Aug-20 13:01:22

@PurpleDaisies isn't there a role for vulnerable teachers to teach the remote lessons?

Children shielding or of the shielded will be able to learn from home IF shielding is required again.

PurpleDaisies Wed 26-Aug-20 13:01:43

Absolutely no way I’d be live streaming from my classroom.

Jason118 Wed 26-Aug-20 13:03:02

It's because Italy cares about its citizens. The UK government doesn't care about her majesty's subjects, including the children insofar as investing in the future. It's what we repeatedly vote for, so we can't complain grin

Chaotic45 Wed 26-Aug-20 13:06:29

@PurpleDaisies why would you refuse point blank to live stream from your classroom? If a school can afford the technology then this is an effective way to deliver a lesson to a shielding or an isolating young person. It's not perfect, but compared to other solutions it is a good one.

If a member of your class can't get to school why would you not agree to this as a way to deliver a lesson to a young person who is a part of your class?

latticechaos Wed 26-Aug-20 13:07:10

British voters will put up with it I guess.

Honestly can't understand why parents are fine with the absolute shit we are getting.

PurpleDaisies Wed 26-Aug-20 13:07:41

isn't there a role for vulnerable teachers to teach the remote lessons?

Definitely, but that only really works in primary. Most maths teachers wouldn’t be able to teach English lessons. And you still need a full complement of staff in school to manage a fully attended school.

GailWeathers9 Wed 26-Aug-20 13:09:54

I agree. And for those asking about classroom size, Italy is using pulling buildings to make this work.

We could have done that.

JingsMahBucket Wed 26-Aug-20 13:11:18

@Chaotic45 it’s because some people would rather complain and block than actually try to create solutions.

GailWeathers9 Wed 26-Aug-20 13:11:48

We could also have invested in technology.

Screening lessons to those at home will help children isolating with symptoms too. Our children could end up isolating several times this winter. Who doesn’t want a plan that stood this disrupting their education.

JingsMahBucket Wed 26-Aug-20 13:15:03

Regarding the question about who will teach the remote kids — there’s a whole bank of supply teachers who likely need work as well and who are qualified.

Instead of looking at this as a giant clusterfuck and complaining, you could see it as a massive job/work program to get thousands of people working again.

Or you can just keep complaining, hand wringing and “yeah but”-ing your way to a ruined educational system.

Aragog Wed 26-Aug-20 13:18:48

At primary we could have some remote learning, but the chances are you wouldn't get it live and even teacher videos may be limited. We'd have vulnerable staff to do it, though at present they are expected to be in class along with everyone else. Some of our staff might agree to have their core lesson videoed but it would've quite the rest if the class to be very quiet for it to work. Live streaming wouldn't work and wouldn't be welcomed.

Masks - parents just wouldn't agree to it. Ime adults are more anti mask than kids. They certainly wouldn't want their kids wearing them in general , especially at primary. Most even object to the adults wearing them in school.

Masks could be taught in. I wouldn't fancy a visor but I can talk and hear fine with a mask. It just needs people to speak a little more clearly and for the listener to focus more carefully on the speaker.

Smaller classes - ideal but unfortunately many schools just don't have the space. Two of our classrooms are already the 'temporary' mobile hut type ones. We don't have spare.

Schools actually don't have much choice but to provide remote home learning. That is expected for any child who has to self isolate at home. So we have to get around that regardless.

Defenbaker Wed 26-Aug-20 13:29:12

Chloemol posted:

"Because our schools don’t have capacity for SD inside classrooms

Because the majority of children, like parents would find some way of using the exceptions list to not wear masks

Because we don’t have enough teachers as it is to run either smaller classes, or remote classes

Because lots of children still don’t have access to laptops etc, especially in poorer areas, how will they gain access?

Because each country is different in populations, number of cases and how they have and are dealing with it, and what works for one won’t work for others."

You said it all really.

To enable social distancing would require most schools to triple in size and double their staff (at least). My sister teaches at a top private school where class sizes are 12, maximum. No doubt many other private schools are similar, so SD can easily be managed. State schools just don't have the luxury of space and staff numbers, and that is not the fault of any particular government, it's because the population has increased over the last 3 decades, but state schools have not kept up with the increased demands. The pandemic has shown how stretched the state education system is, but there are no quick fixes. I don't think it's true that the govt doesn't care about this issue, it's more that they are constantly fire-fighting on all sides, as we are in an unprecedented crisis.

Bishybarnybee Wed 26-Aug-20 13:31:57

Regarding the question about who will teach the remote kids — there’s a whole bank of supply teachers who likely need work as well and who are qualified

Instead of looking at this as a giant clusterfuck and complaining, you could see it as a massive job/work program to get thousands of people working again

Or you can just keep complaining, hand wringing and “yeah but”-ing your way to a ruined educational system.

The thing that people who don't work in schools don't get, is that teaching is relational. To be effective, you need to know the children and establish an effective learning relationship with them. Supply teachers will really struggle to do that remotely.

The reason private schools have been better at remote learning is partly that their families have the technology, partly that their families value education and want to get their money's worth, so there is an effective school-home alliance to get the child to engage, and partly that smaller classes are much more manageable remotely.

The "yeah butting" is because people who don't work in schools think it's easy for the ones that do. Most schools and teachers are working flat out to try to come up with solutions but it's just not that easy.

Jason118 Wed 26-Aug-20 13:33:21

@Defenbaker if you think that the fact that state schools haven't kept up with population isn't a government problem, then it explains perfectly well why we are in this mess.

thecatsatonthewall Wed 26-Aug-20 13:36:49

Education has been under funded for decades.

So old buildings, low tech, large class sizes..... we've all voted for this, so can hardly complain now, we simply cannot do what most of Europe can.

The two schools i went to in the late 1960s till 1981 are almost identical now as then, included no double glazing and the falling to bits, Parkay flooring, they built a nice new reception over the old one but once your through the doors, its the same old 50s/60s building, others comps in the area are just the same.

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