Colors: Green Color

Government Minister, Michael Gove has insisted that schools in England are safe to reopen, although he has acknowledged that “you can never eliminate risk”.

The Chancellor to the Duchy of Lancaster has said that the key issue was to make schools in the country safe with there being staggered arrivals and smaller class numbers.

The government has set out plans to begin a phased reopening programme for primary schools in England from June 1. But teachers unions, backed by the British Medical Association, have raised concerns about safety.

Gove said: “The only way to insure that you never catch coronavirus is to stay at home completely.

“However, in loosening restrictions, there is always a risk of people catching coronavirus.

A former Education Secretary, he said that the UK is learning from the return to school for children in other countries in Europe.

But, as coronavirus cases continue to rise locally, some local authorities in the country have challenged the government’s timetable and have no plans to reopen on June 1.

Schools in Wales are not set to open on that day, whilst authorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland are planning to reopen schools after the summer holiday.

It has been said, by the Education Minister, that it would be “extremely likely” that there could be a phased re-opening of schools in Northern Ireland in September, at the start of what would be a new educational year.

However, Peter Weir said that he would be criteria led and not data led.

He went on to add that any decision to be made would need to reflect the executive’s wider plan for recovery from the Covid-19 virus.

“A number of practical measures need to be addressed”, he said.

Under the draft proposals being worked out by officials, crèches for children of non-essential workers will not open until the later stages of the phased plan to ease the coronavirus restrictions.

The reopening of schools, colleges and other education facilities are part of the plans that are being worked on by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), with the phasing of the plan to lift restrictions being broken down as:

Initial phase
Early phase stage one
Early phase stage two
Middle phase and
Late phase

The latter two phases could be broken down into more phases.

While the latest drafts of the document do not specify dates, earlier drafts spaced the phases out into periods between early May and September.

Pan-African banking group Ecobank have announced its collaboration with internet giants Google and partner networks that will see the financial institute fronting a new literacy app that will aid home teaching that children have had to do since the coronavirus outbreak which has seen schools up and down the country having to be closed down in recent weeks.

The app, in the Google Play Store will support the education programme set-up or home-stay children throughout Africa during the coronavirus pandemic.

As social distancing and other restrictions take their hold and parents are looking for ways to keep their children educationally challenged, as part of children’s learning programme, Ecobank is supporting the free educational app, with Google Play Store also having special apps in local languages.

Nana Abban, Head Group Consumer Banking Ecobank said: “We believe that children are Africa’s future and during these unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever that parents use technology to help their children to learn and improve their knowledge.

“As Ecobank remains committed to closing the literacy and digital skills gap in Africa, it is ensuring that the education of the continent’s future leaders does not suffer as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

She added: “Countries across Africa have historically had limited access to educational platforms. So, we are expanding our distribution network to make access to education as easy as the tap of an app.

“This will keep children educated and enlightened at the same time while keeping them safe online”.




University students in England will still have to pay full tuition fees even if their courses are taught online in the autumn, the UK government has said.

This comes after universities had warned of the financial dangers from a reduction in overseas students due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Universities Minister, Michael Donelan said: “We do not believe that students will be fully entitled to reimbursement if the quality is there”.

The university sector’s request for a £2bn bail-out has been rejected.

Universities – whose campuses have been closed since the outbreak – had warned about the financial danger that would develop from a reduction of overseas students.

Students are concerned about the uncertainty about whether there will be any in-person lessons or come autumn, or whether lesson will be taught full or part-time online.

Donelan added: “No formal decision has been taken on the next academic year, butif courses are taught online and students are really getting the quality, and they are getting a course fit for purpose, they would not get a discount on fees”.

Unions in the UK have warned that schools should not be able to reopen unless key measures are set in place.

The TUC (Trades Union Congress) is urging government ministers to work closely with unions to agree a way forward.

There had been speculations that schools may return in England from June 1, but it was ruled out in Scotland and Wales.

The Department for Education in England said that it would follow the scientific advice about the right time to reopen schools.

In the wider aspect of the coronavirus lockdown, the Welsh First Minister, Mark Drayford, has acknowledged that extending the lockdown could damage people’s sense of mental well-being.

He said: “We should all be anxious about how long it can be sustained.

“I hope, though, that changes to the regulations will help people to do the biggest thing that we are asking of them”.

People in Wales are set to be allowed to go out and excesrsise locally more than one time a day and garden centres can reopen.

Birmingham Law Society, one of the largest societies outside London, has announced that VWV’s Commercial Litigation Partners, Dee Kundi, as the new Chair of its Board.

Representing over 5,000 legal professional across over 100 regional practices, Birmingham Law Society announced the new appointment at its recently held 201st Annual General Meeting.

Based in VWV’s city office, Dee heads up the Debt Recovery department, advising universities, financial institutions and businesses on all aspects of managing their debt portfolio including Litigation, Debt Collection and Recovery Services.

Established within the Legal 500 as one of the market leaders in the field, she is recognised both as a strong deliverer and an innovator.

Dee was elected as a council member of the Birmingham Law Society in April 2015 and she joined the Board 12 months later; being the first Asian woman on the board.

Speaking about her new role, she said: “I am extremely, humbled, honoured and exceptionally pleased that I have been appointed as the new Chair of the Birmingham Law Society Board.

“Having been involved with the Society since 2015, I hope that I can do this role justice by taking the lead of the Board for the Society and push forward our objectives, strategies and opportunities.

“We are working through unprecedented times where all need to work together effectively”.

“I honestly believe my hard work, business acumen, integrity and perseverance has helped me to achieve my professional growth, which I am sure will continue in my new appointment role. It’s another step in breaking the glass ceiling.

“I look forward to working more closely with the board and supporting our members”.

Dee is a multi-award winning lawyer with may accolades under her belt, including; ‘Best in Litigation’, ‘Outstanding Businesswoman of the Year’, ‘Most Influential in Debt Recovery’, ‘Professional of the Year’, ‘Best in Legal Services’ and many more.

Dee is a non-executive director of TAG Network Midlands and sits on the Capital Development committee for Town Hall & Symphony Hall and she was also appointed as Vice President of the ABCC, part of the Chamber of Commerce.

Birmingham Law Society was established in 1818 and represents over 5,000 solicitors, barristers, legal executives, trainee lawyers and paralegals across Birmingham and the Greater Midlands and is a membership organisation that offers a number of benefits relevant to today’s legal community; from representation and advocacy, to network introductions and events.