The return to school last week for the children of Brentwood and Ongar appears to have gone smoothly, thanks to the amazing work of school staff. So far it seems that all of the excellent preparatory work to get classrooms and Covid-testing ready has paid off.
For many pupils, mock exams are now taking place to find out what sections of the curriculum need more work before the formal end of year assessments for GCSE and A level students. (This year is obviously rather different - students will receive teacher-assessed grades based on what they have been taught.)
For those pupils looking ahead to future studies, schools in Brentwood and Ongar can now apply for the Conservative Government’s new £110 million Turing Scheme which will provide young people with the opportunity to study and work around the world. The landmark scheme replaces the UK’s participation in the EU’s Erasmus programme and will be backed by £110 million of funding in 2021-22. The fund will provide for 35,000 global exchanges from this September – a similar level to the number of exchanges which took place under the previous scheme. After such a strange two years, this scheme might be just the thing young people need, allowing them (once restrictions permit) to get out and spend a period of time studying abroad.
While travel and most local visits are still off the cards, I am looking forward to having an online discussion with young students from the Ursuline Preparatory School this week about politics and Parliament. I also have to thank the children of Ingatestone Junior School for their very thoughtful letters about the environment and plastic pollution written to me during lockdown, and I look forward to coming to visit them as soon as I am allowed.
As ever, if I can help with any issue please contact me at www.alexburghart.org.uk