Latest updates: the Commons has been recalled for vote on new lockdown laws, amid record hospitalisation figures and Covid infection rates
- Thousands of children sent to unregulated care homes amid Covid
- Strict Covid restrictions could last months, Boris Johnson signals
- Coronavirus – latest updates
- See all our coronavirus coverage
This morning Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP who chairs the Commons education committee, said teachers should be given priority for getting the coronavirus vaccine, like health and social care workers. He told Times Radio:
My view is that children – educating our children – is the most important thing we can do. We are damaging their life chances every day that they are not in school, we’re increasing mental health worries, we know there are safeguarding hazards for children being at home, so the priority must be to get our kids back into school. Surely teachers and support staff must be made a priority alongside NHS workers for vaccination.
I think it’s right that we focus very much on the nine categories for the most vulnerable people that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has set us. Some teachers will be vaccinated because [they’re in a vulnerable category for other reasons] … I’ve been very clear that actually the most vulnerable should be the absolute priority.
Students applying to go to university next September are to be given extra time to complete their applications following the closure of schools and colleges as part of the latest lockdown measures.
The UK university admissions service, Ucas, is expecting students to apply in greater numbers this year and has extended the January deadline by two weeks to relieve pressure after studies were moved online.
This decision to extend the deadline is about relieving the pressure not only on students, but also teachers and advisers. We know from our data that most students have started their Ucas application and we expect to see the number of applications submitted by 29 January exceed the numbers we have seen in previous years.
This additional time also allows schools and colleges to support students who do not have readily available access to digital devices to make arrangements to put the finishing touches to their application.