As half-term approaches, Geoff Barton takes stock on the first five weeks of full re-opening and the challenges still facing schools. He covers Ofsted, examinations, remote education, budgets, accountability and life after the pandemic...


With the staging post of half-term now in tantalising reach, it is a good opportunity to take stock of how full re-opening has worked out in practice and the challenges that lie ahead.

Department for Education statistics tell us that on October 1, 99.8 per cent of schools were open, down from 99.9 per cent on September 17 (DfE, 2020a). Of the small proportion (0.2 per cent) of schools that were closed, this was mostly due to Covid-19-related reasons.

These statistics suggest a very positive picture with all but a handful of schools open; better than many of us might have imagined in the circumstances.

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