England could fit Covid air filters in all school classrooms for half the price of the new royal yacht, in a move that scientists have said would greatly help in the fight against the spread of Covid-19.
According to calculations submitted by the Liberal Democrats, the move would cost taxpayers about £140m – far less than the planned yacht upgrade, which is expected to be kept in service for around 30 years according to the BBC.
Currently, headteachers are expected to pay for their school’s own air filters – with many having criticised the department for education’s preferred suppliers as being too expensive.
One such unit recommended by the government, made by Camfil City M, costs £1,170 whilst the other recommended product, a Dyson model, costs £424.82.
A multi-academy trust leader told TES: “We were really shocked to see the cost of the two products on the DfE approved framework.
“We have purchased several HEPA filtration units for less than half the cost of the Dyson units on this framework. It is difficult to understand why the DfE would signpost schools to such expensive branded products at a time when school budgets are so tight.”
Meanwhile, many school heads are warning that whole year groups could be sent home due to Covid-19 – and are already warning of high numbers of staff absences caused by illness and self-isolation.
Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned The Telegraph that classroom closures could occur if teachers were left with no alternatives.
He told the paper: “If you have a fixed pool available of those who can teach young people, then the only final resort schools and colleges have is to start thinking about the certain year groups that should be prioritised in the short term,”
Current government advice to protect teachers and children from the spread of the virus suggests that windows should be opened, as should external doors, in order to help create airflow throughout classrooms.
Official advice also states that schools “should balance the need for increased ventilation while maintaining a comfortable temperature”, although this may be difficult to achieve during the cold winter months as classes of children return to in-person lessons in January 2022.
The government has also suggested the use of CO2 monitors in schools as a way to better promote airflow. However, the Lib Dem education spokesperson Munira Wilson has pointed out that these would be much less effective than Covid air filters, as they only give information on where airflow is needed – as opposed to increasing airflow within classrooms.
Wilson told the Guardian: “Failure to act right now will fail our children in the future. The government has a week to solve this, otherwise, pupils will be left out in the cold and missing out on vital learning once again,”
“Nadhim Zahawi gave a cast-iron guarantee that schools would stay open. Unless he gets a grip on this quickly, he will be adding to the countless broken promises from this Government. Worse still, he will be breaking a promise to all our children.”
The government has assured parents that schools will open as usual for the new term following the Christmas break, despite a huge surge in Omicron cases over Christmas.
Feature image –Coast Community
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”