It’s fair to say that after twenty years helping to find home buyers their dream abode on Location, Location, Location, presenters Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer know what they’re doing.However, the pair haven’t always got it right on the Channel 4 show, as one set of home-seekers tragically found out.“We looked after a female couple who had two cats, which they adored,” Phil tells The Times (££). “Kirstie found a house for these women and it was at a crossroads. They said, ‘We love the house, but we are worried about the cats and the road.’ Kirstie said confidently and brusquely that the cats would learn to live with it. “A few years later I went back for a revisit, knocked at the door and said, ‘How are you, how are the cats?’ They had both been run over.”Phil adds: “Luckily they got over it. They had a puppy.”Kirstie says there have been plenty of surprises over the last twenty years too.“After one episode my friend rang me and said, ‘That guy on your show last night works in my office and he is playing away from his wife.’ Statistically, though, we have a good track record. The people who go on Location stay together. We are the opposite of Hello! magazine.”Another time a man who was wanted for fraud appeared on the programme. “He was arrested after the show went out,” Phil recalls. “His wife did not know. Why on earth he went on the show I do not know.”After two decades of working together (and filming 237 episodes), the pair - who met for the first time at the screen test for the show - say their friendship is stronger than ever.“Kirstie and I met on camera, and people have watched us become friends,” Phil says. “Our relationship has grown. It is not just work. Our little chats are never rehearsed — that’s what keeps it fresh. ”“We only have each other,” Kirstie adds. “We have been on this journey together. Twenty years ago we had never been on TV. Now, taxi drivers, train conductors, everyone knows our name. We share this weird thing. I can’t fall out with Phil.”Location, Location, Location: 20 Years and Counting airs on Wednesday on Channel 4.READ MORE:
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We are aware of an issue impacting the Wink platform. We just wanted to let you know that we're still here, and we're not under attack. Rest assured that we are working diligently to get everyone back online. All updates will continue to be shared at https://t.co/WPpNKlhbQv.— Wink (@TheWinkApp) September 11,...
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Teachers have warned that the “incredibly fragile” plans put in place by schools in the absence of clear government guidance could see students forced back into remote learning. The government wants every pupil back in full-time education within days. But while it has urged schools to implement social-distancing measures and bolstered hygiene processes, it has provided very little detail – and no extra funding – to help staff and students return safely.Schools have been forced to come up with their own complex plans to keep “bubbles” of students as separate as possible to limit the risk of infection, with senior leadership teams spending their summer designing one-way systems and socially distanced lunch breaks.Almost every element of the back-to-school period has been changed, with one teacher telling HuffPost UK that teachers still hadn’t received their timetables – which would normally be handed out in May and will mean “chaos” in the first weeks of term. But even the most carefully-crafted plans could topple within days in the case of a single infection in the school.The UK’s chief medical officers published a statement on Sunday saying children had an “exceptionally low risk of dying” of Covid-19, adding that schools did not appear to be a “common route of transmission” for the virus – but acknowledged that staff-to-staff transmission could occur and reopening could drive the R rate back up. Pupils have been grouped into bubbles to limit the spread of infection – but iin secondary schools, where staff specialise in one subject, teachers are forced to move between classes throughout the day. One 37-year-old department head, who works in a large south London school, said: “It’s very, very difficult. If a pupil tests positive then their entire bubble has to self-isolate, but teachers need to stay in to teach their other students. We’re already really understaffed as it is.”The teacher added: “If a teacher tests positive then all of their bubbles will have to self-isolate – at least that’s how we understand it at the moment. The school has had to work all of this out themselves. There’s been very little – if any – practical help from the government or local authority. “With more than 1,000 students crammed into basically one building, and lots of them going home to families filled with siblings at other schools and parents at work, then it’s very hard to see how positive tests and self-isolation won’t become a weekly occurrence. “We’re doing our best with what we have but it’s incredibly fragile. It really wouldn’t take much for the entire system to topple.”Teachers have said they feel that without a clear set of rules for how to operate in the face of an infection among pupils or teachers, schools had been “thrown to the wolves” by the government and “abandoned” to develop their own plans. The governments exam results fiasco has also distracted many school staff from detailing the finer points of back-to-school plans, leaving them scrambling in the last days of the summer holidays to meet Department for Education guidance.Patrick Roach, general secretary of the teacher’s union NASUWT, said: “We believe there is still considerable work for the government to do to set out how it intends to monitor and take action to ensure that all schools have in place the safety measures set out in its guidance.”He added the government must “provide schools with clear advice on the steps which will be taken to protect staff and students and support the continued provision of education if there is a local outbreak of Covid or a second wave nationally”.Many state schools – at every level – were struggling to cope financially before Covid-19 hit, leaving them unprepared to buy enough resources to limit the spread of the virus.Extra deep-cleaning, PPE for staff, and multiples of toys, books and pens all come at a price – one that can’t easily be afforded by schools already finding it hard to provide the basics, not to mention the resources needed to support the most vulnerable children and their families. Despite advising that school staff introduce enhanced cleaning, wear PPE as much as possible and minimise contact between pupils, the latest government guidance published on August 7 makes it clear that schools can’t expect any additional funding to make their classrooms safe. One 31-year-old Year 3 teacher at a school in Haringey told HuffPost UK that school budgets were already stretched, and while the year might start out on the right track it was unclear how long measures like enhanced cleaning could be financed by the school. The only other option left for teachers would be to buy and use extra cleaning materials themselves on top of their usual work. She said: “When I was back in school in the summer term to work with the children of key workers we were already just using watered-down soap as ‘hand sanitiser’. “The term might start ok but as the budget lessens I think the responsibility will fall, as usual, to teachers to start picking up the cost, or there will be more pressure on parents to provide cleaning materials. “All of this responsibility has been taken away from the government and put onto the individual. Somehow it’s our duty to make sure everyone’s hands are clean, and if we don’t have the right hand soap or sanitiser we have to buy it ourselves.”Another teacher added: “The money to keep students and staff safe will have to come from somewhere and will mean that the money used will be taken from somewhere else, which could have an impact on curriculum resources or building maintenance.”Roach said: “The latest research from NASUWT found that three in 10 teachers believe budgetary constraints will affect their schools’ ability to reopen safely.“We have been calling on the government to provide schools with additional financial resources to meet the costs of practical requirements such as extra cleaning to ensure that schools are able to reopen fully without cutting corners on safety.”Without a clear plan for what happens when schools are potentially forced to close due to an outbreak, teachers have no idea what to prepare for a return to distance learning.One teacher at a secondary in London told HuffPost UK there were multiple pupils in each year group who live with large families in tiny flats, often with only one laptop or tablet to share between five or more school-age children.Motivation is a problem, as well as access. “It’s really tough to motivate hundreds of teenagers to study, especially when they’re not sure when or if they’ll be returning to school,” another teacher said. “Kids that age often don’t want to look like they are engaging with their education, and their circumstances at home make it really, really hard to actually do so. “We’ve tried hundreds of different ways to get pupils to care about learning from home, but you can’t force kids to do the work. We’re really concerned about the impact that another lockdown or even just a school-wide lockdown could have, and it’s likely it would be worse the second time around.” Roach said the government also needed to explain how schools could minimise the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on pupils from Black, Asian and minority ethnic families.Boris Johnson has framed the return to school as a “moral duty”, citing the harm done to children when they’re forced to exist outside the usual supportive routine of a school day. But the imposition of morality onto an issue as logically difficult as millions of children returning to their often-cramped classrooms has been met with anger by many teachers, who say the need for pupils to return shouldn’t come at the risk of harming teachers, staff and their families. One Spanish teacher from the north-west, who is returning to school within days despite being pregnant, said: “Whilst I want to get students back, a ‘moral duty’ shouldn’t mean that staff should be expected to sacrifice their own health and the health of their families, which is what it feels like we are being guilt-tripped to do.“The term ‘moral duty’ also seems to take priority over, and importance away from, the government and each school’s legal duty to keep us safe.“One look at any union Facebook group shows post after post of teachers whose schools are not fulfilling their legal duties to keep staff safe, either by failing to produce their individual risk assessments in time or insufficient social distancing plans. It also shows how petrified many teachers are of the return to work.”She added: “I think it’s rich that someone who has shown absolutely no sense of morality in his time as PM should appeal to teachers’ sense of morality. If he wanted the school return to run more smoothly then more work should have been done to engage positively with school staff and unions.“It currently feels like teachers are being constantly vilified by both government and the press which takes its toll on a profession which already struggles from low morale, and seems incredibly unfair given that most teachers are in the profession out of a genuine desire to help our young people and contribute positively to society.”A Department for Education spokesperson said: “All pupils will return to school for the start of the autumn term – delivering on our national priority to get all pupils back to the classroom, which is the best place for their education, development and wellbeing.“Throughout the pandemic, schools have continued to receive their core funding, with this year marking the first year of a three-year £14.4 billion total cash boost. Schools have also been able to claim for specific exceptional costs such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases, worth up to £75,000 for large secondary schools.“We recognise that students due to take exams next summer will have experienced disruption to their education, which is why we prioritised bringing Year 10 and Year 12 pupils back for some face-to-face support in school last term. We have also launched a £1 billion Covid catch up package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time over the coming year.”Related...
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