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Secondary schools are fucked

(468 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sat 31-Oct-20 11:45:49

The latest ONS data for infection rates in pupils in Y7-11 shows that they are now nearly as high for university students, the ones who were getting blamed for catching it at pubs and parties.

The latest data for number of cases per 100,000 in each year group looks alarming, even more so when you realise that the latest column is an underestimate. The figures for Y11 in particular are horrendous, and this is a crucial exam year group.

Attendance data for secondary schools is going down each week - 82% according to the latest data (excluding those on half term).

On 22nd October an estimated 557,000 pupils were off school, either isolating, or with covid (this includes primaries, I can't see the data for just secondaries).

On 22nd October, 55% of secondary schools had at least 1 pupil self-isolating due to contact with a case in school.

There is, as far as a I can see, no discussion from those in charge about what to do about this. Schools are a priority, except when it comes to talking about them. Data is hidden, covered up or just ignored. People use arguments about primary schools (parents need to work!) to apply to all ages of pupil.

Secondary schools were set up with 'bubbles'. Risk assessments were based on premise that bubbles would be mixing, and would be sent home if there were cases. This was abandoned a few weeks into term when the DfE elbowed PHE out of the way and took over the the decisions about who would be sent home. Now only 'close contacts' are sent home rather than whole bubbles, which makes no sense in the context of what we know about covid transmission in poorly ventilated spaces with no social distancing. Kids who were told that they could mix 'because they were in a bubble' are now wondering why they're in a bubble but not in a bubble in any meaningful sense.

If, when it comes to any upcoming lockdown, the message is 'schools will stay open' and there is no distinguishing between primary and secondary, and no discussion about how this trend in secondary can be addressed, then be aware that any lockdown isn't going to solve the problem because it's spreading in secondary schools.

PS: I don't want schools to close but they shouldn't stay open as they are because the data shows there's a real problem with as they are. I do want a discussion about specifically secondary so talk about primary elsewhere. If you find the data scary then that's a problem with the situation, not me posting it. I don't want any anecdotes about how your school hasn't had any cases unless you put the word 'yet' at the end of it. If your school has masks everywhere that's great for your school, but the government says their use should be avoided in classrooms and their use in corridors is only mandated in lockdown areas. Schools are not all open in Europe.

Some suggestions: masks, ventilation, review of who is being sent home, regular testing (especially if there are cases), review of fines for pupils who would be safer at home, review of working conditions for ECV teachers, it to be made clear that if a school sends your child home they are legally required to isolate.

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Longtalljosie Sat 31-Oct-20 11:49:47

@noblegiraffe this is incredibly lazy of me but you don’t have a link to those graphs do you?

Flagsfiend Sat 31-Oct-20 11:52:31

www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-flu-and-covid-19-surveillance-reports they are in the second link down, the file labelled graphs.

SpookyNoise Sat 31-Oct-20 11:53:17

Schools need to close to break the cycle of Covid.

noblegiraffe Sat 31-Oct-20 11:53:22

Attendance figures: explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

Infection rates graphs from the ONS www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/coronaviruscovid19infectionsurveypilot/30october2020

Year group graphs: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/930819/Weekly_COVID-19_and_Influenza_Surveillance_Graphs_W44.pdf

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Lostinacloud Sat 31-Oct-20 11:54:53

This is why cases are rising. They can make us all blame each other and bang on about how selfish some of the population are for caving and hugging their own mother or child but it is blindingly obvious that cases started dropping when schools closed and then rising when they reopened. Of course this would be the case though, most children probably show little to no symptoms and are spreading it around each other with little chance for a break in the chain. Each child then belongs to a family and hey presto, increased cases.
In my opinion, either they’re going to have to close schools again (not saying I agree with that) or they need to shield away all vulnerable people while it filters round the population but without causing uncontrollable amounts of hospitalisations.

motherrunner Sat 31-Oct-20 11:56:11

I only have my anecdata to offer but all the positive cases in my school are the upper years. Yr 10 two isolation closures, Yr 12 and 13 have had three isolation periods.

MrsHamlet Sat 31-Oct-20 11:56:19

We lost our whole y11 bubble the week before half term. I know people will come here and say "it should only have been close contacts" - but the reality of moving 1400 people round a school, even with a one way system, is that child x might well be in close contact with children a, e, y and v who he's not in class with ever. And so PHE sent them all home.
We were online with remote learning the same day. Attendance wasn't 100% and I know from my own classes that not all students who were in the lessons did the work - because I was able to mark it immediately.
Some of them were absent because they don't have the tech - which we've sorted for them now. Some of them were absent because they're kids who are desktop truants. Some of them were absent because they have SEN and they can't cope with working from home like that.
If they'd worn masks in corridors, it might have helped. If they wore them in classrooms, better still (like in Germany and France for example).
If we could operate a split timetable, reduce class sizes and do 50:50 remote and face to face, we might stand a better chance.

treeeeemendous Sat 31-Oct-20 11:56:28

Interesting. One of my dc goes to a school that has had many cases and many isolation periods. The other absolutely nothing. Why is that, just luck? Both are secondary school age. Both in year group bubbles but one school definitely better than the other at enforcing at social distancing. Both wearing masks around school other than when sat at a desk.

I am happy for my dc to go back to remote learning if the government will do something about the gcse and a level situation. What they can do I don't know, but something. I can't see how it is fair for them to sit exams next year.

noblegiraffe Sat 31-Oct-20 11:58:40

but one school definitely better than the other at enforcing at social distancing.

Genuinely interested, what social distancing? What is being enforced?

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Piggywaspushed Sat 31-Oct-20 11:59:37

Sadly, they see running full (almost all completely unaltered content wise) GCSE and A level exams (and SATS and phonic tests) as their hill to die on tree

Hmmph Sat 31-Oct-20 12:00:55

It’s no good having a “lockdown” but leaving secondary schools open.

Education needs to be prioritised, but the stubborn “schools must stay open” whilst nothing else can open, the economy is ruined and everyone loses their jobs isn’t going to help children in the long run.

The government messed up (again) - two week strict lockdown of everything including schools from 17 October planned for in advance wouldn’t have ruined children’s education. They could easily have be set work for one week to self study and had one week off for half term. Many private schools have 2 week half terms without it ruining their education.

A short sharp everyone together lockdown would have worked a lot better than a long drawn out lockdown that WON’T WORK because Covid is still spreading like wildfire round secondary and, to some extent, primary schools.

At the very very least mitigation measures like wearing masks all day at Secondary schools need to be taken.

howsers Sat 31-Oct-20 12:01:50

* PS: I don't want schools to close but they shouldn't stay open as they are because the data shows there's a real problem with as they are.*

Haven't you had a number of these threads? Why do the discussions die out on them?

P.S. I don't have a solution

beelola Sat 31-Oct-20 12:02:43

We've had no positive cases in students but have had several students off due to family testing positive. But lots of other local schools have had confirmed cases in students so I think it's just luck and parents being honest.

Hmmph Sat 31-Oct-20 12:04:42

GCSEs and A Levels should take into the pandemic- either by some kind of reduced syllabus or teacher assessment (not algorithms!).

But I think SATs should be taken unchanged as usual. We need to see the effect of Covid on education and this is the easiest and fairest way to measure it.

howsers Sat 31-Oct-20 12:08:34

Out of interest what is the usual attendance figures?

* it to be made clear that if a school sends your child home they are legally required to isolate.*

Am I correct in reading that if a pupil has a test they do not legally inform the school of the result?

Racoonworld Sat 31-Oct-20 12:11:36

Yes. Until schools are closed I’m not giving up seeing my family. I don’t have school age kids, I’m not giving up my life for a lockdown that won’t work whilst schools are open.

treeeeemendous Sat 31-Oct-20 12:12:18

Genuinely interested, what social distancing? What is being enforced?

Also having to sit socially distanced in the canteen. Only one year group at a time in there and every other seat unavailable. Lining up outside classrooms with distance in between them as well. One way system in place.

noblegiraffe Sat 31-Oct-20 12:12:49

It's normally about 95% for secondary.

Schools can't ask for evidence of a negative test before allowing a pupils who had symptoms to return.

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BertiesLanding Sat 31-Oct-20 12:13:40

I would imagine that it is in most schools, but it's not getting picked up in many cases due to lack of testing.

LilyPond2 Sat 31-Oct-20 12:14:48

Agree with Spookynoise. Infection rates are now running so out of control that the only way to achieve a meaningful reduction is to have schools closing. The debate should shift to how long a period of closure is needed and the extent to which exceptions should be made for particular students (eg Year 7s with parents who are key workers). Anything else at this stage is basically rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Before schools go back, there needs to be a proper discussion about safety measures, including a testing regime which actively looks for cases rather than berating people for getting tested if they don't have the "official" symptoms. But we've past the point where infection rates can be controlled without a period of school closure.

lonelyplanet Sat 31-Oct-20 12:14:49

If you watch this video from independent sage who are scientific experts and have carried out modelling you will see that closing everything except schools it will still take at least 8 weeks to get the cases low enough. That takes us beyond Christmas.
youtu.be/MnETRnfjmjY

motherrunner Sat 31-Oct-20 12:14:50

treeeeemendous

^Genuinely interested, what social distancing? What is being enforced?^

Also having to sit socially distanced in the canteen. Only one year group at a time in there and every other seat unavailable. Lining up outside classrooms with distance in between them as well. One way system in place.

There is no way my school could implement this, the canteen is too small. The only way we could do this is to split the year groups, double the sittings but then they wouldn’t have time to eat. DFE explicitly said no changes should impact on lesson time.

noblegiraffe Sat 31-Oct-20 12:14:58

BertiesLanding

I would imagine that it is in most schools, but it's not getting picked up in many cases due to lack of testing.

Well the ONS random testing suggests that 1 in 50 secondary school children has it. They're definitely not picking up all the cases!

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noblegiraffe Sat 31-Oct-20 12:16:46

We're not letting kids sit in the canteen to eat lunch. This will be more of a problem as the weather gets worse. Kids will be indoors during wet breaks with low levels of supervision and no seating plans...

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