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WEBCHAT GUIDELINES: 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. 5. If one topic or question threatens to overwhelm the webchat, MNHQ will usually ask for people to stop repeating the same question or point.

MNHQ have commented on this thread

Webchat with Vicky Ford MP, Minister for Children, Friday 15 May at 2.15pm
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RowanMumsnet · 14/05/2020 09:19

Hello

We're pleased to announce a webchat about COVID-19 and schools with Vicky Ford, Conservative MP for Chelmsford and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families, at 2.15pm on Friday May 15.

As lots of you will already know, the government has recently announced plans to start sending Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children, as well as nursery children, back to school and nursery settings from June 1. We know lots of you have questions about this, and about policy and plans for schools and schoolchildren in the COVID era more broadly. Vicky will be coming along to give us the government’s response to your concerns and questions.

Vicky was elected MP for Chelmsford in 2017, and has been Minister for Children since February 2020. Before joining Parliament she was an MEP for the East of England constituency in the European Parliament. In a previous life she worked in finance.

Please join us here on Friday at 2.15pm. If you can’t join us on the day, please post up your question in advance.

As always, please remember our guidelines - one question per user, follow-ups only if there’s time and most questions have been answered, and please keep it civil. Also if one topic is dominating a thread, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. (We may suspend the accounts of anyone who continues after we've posted to ask people to stop, so please take note.) Rest assured we will ALWAYS let the guest know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.

Many thanks,
MNHQ

Webchat with Vicky Ford MP, Minister for Children, Friday 15 May at 2.15pm
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Aesopfable · 14/05/2020 11:00

Not Covid but still important; given Oxfordshire and Shropshire Councils and the Crown Prosecution Service have all withdrawn Guidance on Transgender children in schools over the last few days due to legal challenge, and that the Crown Court agreed it was ‘arguable unlawful’ prior to Oxfordshire withdrawing their guidance. Will the government now be ensuring that all such guidance is withdrawn and replaced with guidance that protects all children including the privacy, safety and dignity of girls and fairness in girls sport?

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WillAshton · 14/05/2020 11:01

What is being done about the statutory instrument 2020 445 in Children's Social Care?

Why have changes to regulations, whixh erode essential safeguards for children, been rushed through Parliament with no consultation or scrutiny during this crisis?

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T0tallyFuckedUpFamily · 14/05/2020 11:02

Message deleted by MNHQ. This post breaks the webchat guidelines on civility

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T0tallyFuckedUpFamily · 14/05/2020 11:02

Message deleted by MNHQ. This post breaks the webchat guidelines on civility

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BuzzShitbagBobbly · 14/05/2020 11:05

My question was largely the same as @Aesopfable's so please consider this a +1 for that question to be clearly and unambiguously answered please - no fudging round with "be nice" and "poor xyz groups" type comments. And certainly no bogus stats.

Several issues round child safeguarding, dignity and privacy have been ridden over roughshod and I would respectfully like to know how the Under-Secretary is going to rectify that. Thank you.

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SarahTancredi · 14/05/2020 11:11

With regards to safe guarding when will we see visitors to schools, being background checked and the information they are parting with thoroughly investigated in order to ensure its accuracy and legality before vulnerable and impressionable children are told about it?

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tresdesolee · 14/05/2020 11:20

Hello. Please can you give us some real clarity on what will happen with GCSEs and A Levels next year? These young people have lost a term of teaching - about one fifth of the teaching time for these exams. Surely next year's exams will have to be adjusted to be fair to these kids. Please can you set our minds at rest on this - not asking for detailed plans, just a confirmation that you will at some point be setting out information for how these exams next year will be changed to take the circumstances into account. Thanks

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icechips · 14/05/2020 11:40

It was reported yesterday that the Department for Education's own scientific adviser didn't sign off on the plans for sending children back in June. Can you explain why he wasn't asked?

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uhohjojo · 14/05/2020 12:16

We have very uneven education provision right now, with some schools sending home paper worksheets and suggesting it's more or less optional, while others schools give full video lessons. I'd like schools to reopen because so many children are struggling with home schooling. This also prepares the way for September, when quite likely we'll still need distancing measures. But how can schools be given confidence in plans to reopen? Would it work for school return to be optional to reduce numbers and make for smaller class sizes?

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Sonia111 · 14/05/2020 12:28

Do you think we'll finally see the DfE place a much greater focus on children's social care? One that is equal to it's focus on education (and much needed!). If so, will you also be ensuring the children in care and those who support them get the platform they desperately need (as they do in Scotland?).

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Sonia111 · 14/05/2020 12:31

Given that we are likely to see an increase in the numbers of children coming into care in the coming months and following two years, what will the government be doing centrally to highlight the need for more people to consider fostering and working in children's homes? Are you planning a national campaign to champion foster care and children's homes, so that these services are more able to recruit the carers that are going to be desperately needed?

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RowanMumsnet · 14/05/2020 12:31

Message withdrawn

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MaryQuaint · 14/05/2020 12:35

Why can teachers in private schools deliver lessons via video conferencing apps but teachers in state comps are advised not to by their unions? How are you going to address this inequality for year 10 and year 12 when they (hopefully) sit their exams next year?

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spaghettiWeston · 14/05/2020 12:57

Reception teacher (and parent) here. I'd like to know if the science definitely supports children and teacher being in a ‘bubble’ of say 16 (15 children plus teacher) with little or no social distancing required and no PPE. Although children are said to be less likely to catch or be impacted by the virus, what about the children passing it on to their teachers?

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MrsMc1976 · 14/05/2020 13:02

Message withdrawn - posted on wrong thread.

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Pertella · 14/05/2020 13:06

Shes my MP so I am happy to email her directly with any questions that get censored or removed Smile

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Nquartz · 14/05/2020 13:34

I'd like to know why schools haven't been given standard guidelines on work to send home. There is a massive difference across schools

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AntiSocialDistancer · 14/05/2020 14:11

Thanks MNHQ for this.

Does the Government know what will happen yet about childcare for the 6 weeks school holidays for key worker's children?

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T0tallyFuckedUpFamily · 14/05/2020 15:25

Sorry, RowanMumsnet, it wasn’t actually directed at MNHQ, but towards so many politicians who refuse to discuss these matters. I can see why you’d think I was directing it towards MNHQ, given the differences in what many women feel is acceptable discussion and MNHQ’s rules.

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PacificState · 14/05/2020 16:15

It feels like this decision is about getting the economy re-started, not about which year groups or categories of children really need to be prioritised in terms of their education or wellbeing. I can understand that the government needs to make a difficult choice but can you confirm that getting people back to work is what lies behind the choice to send young children back first?

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Unformidable · 14/05/2020 16:24

Hello. I would like to know what will happen with A Levels next year. Ds is in Y12 and has had 5 months of teaching, and I've been told the college won't now hold end of year exams. He Is aiming for an Oxbridge place in 2021, and will have to apply in October 2020. He has nothing to apply with, and will have an almost blank personal statement. Can you confirm situations like these will be looked at? Thank you.

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katmarie · 14/05/2020 17:49

I would like to know how you will ensure the safety of preschool and early years children, nursery staff, and the families of both, given that social distancing is impossible with children who require physical help to eat, toilet and generally get through the day. Where is the evidence that opening nurseries will be safe? While most children may not get the virus themselves there is every chance they may be able to pass it on to nursery staff, or their own families. How is that in the best interests of the child?


It feels to me that preschool and early years children are very much an afterthought, and by extension so are their families and the people who care for them. Reopening nurseries looks like an economical rather than science based decision, which goes against everything the government is saying about their decisions and actions. And please dont refer me to the guidance, I've read it, and frankly it gives me more concerns than reassurance, particularly around how children who are unwell will be managed. Imagine how terrifying for a sick three year old it will be to be comforted by an adult in full ppe, or worse, left isolated until a parent can collect. Again, how is that in the best interests of the child?

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Bex01234 · 14/05/2020 18:25

I am contracted to work from home and am a single parent to a 1 yr old. My company are strong arming me to have my child in daycare. Can they do this given the pandemic and that I have managed to work effectively for the duration of the lockdown ? What are my rights? Others in the sane situation are not being asked to do the same.

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Secretescape · 14/05/2020 19:03

Bearing in mind that young children will find it hardest to settle back in to a school environment, how can it be in their best interests to return to new/ different staff who may not be EYFS trained, in smaller groups, so missing their friends, not necessarily in their usual classroom and with restrictions on the equipment they can use?

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StaffAssociationRepresentative · 14/05/2020 19:06

Shame this is being done during the school day when teaching staff are teaching!

#solidarity

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