Gavin Williamson fails to rule out prosecution for parents
Gavin Williamson will address the House of Commons today for the first time since the Government implemented a national lockdown across England forcing all schools to shut and return to remote learning. His statement will address school closures and the crucial topic of the upcoming summer exams, but what time is the Education Secretary due to speak in the House of Commons on Wednesday?
What time will Education Secretary Gavin Williamson speak at the House of Commons today?
Mr Williamson will deliver a crucial update from the House of Commons at 1pm today (Wednesday, January 6).
He is expected to announce a package of measures for young people following the announcement that schools and colleges will close to all but vulnerable children and children of key workers in the third lockdown.
Speaking about the closure of schools, Mr Williamson said: “I know what a challenging time this is for families, young people, and for everyone working so hard in education.
“I also know the enormous lengths that teachers and support staff have gone to throughout this pandemic – the benefit of that work on children’s education and wellbeing is quite simply immeasurable, and has enabled millions to be back in classrooms spending valuable time with their teachers.
“It is now vital that we support our young people at home, including making sure all students are receiving the best possible remote education, and that those students who were due to take exams can still progress to their next stage of education or training.
“Education continues to be a national priority – these new national restrictions do not change that. I am determined that this virus, and the steps we all must take to fight it, do not come at the cost of children’s life chances.”
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Mr Williamson has faced criticism for his handling of school closures and exams amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Senior Conservative MP Robert Halfon has described the situation with schools as “a mess”, while the former head of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, called for Mr Williamson to take “final accountability” for the Department for Education’s actions.
On Wednesday morning, Mr Lebus said: “We know that this is a difficult time for students, their parents and carers, teachers and trainers. Our message to students is this: please continue to engage as fully as you can in your education.
“That will be online for the majority of students, or face-to-face for those students still going in to their school, college or training provider.
“This will put you in the best position, whatever arrangements are made for your qualifications.
“The way ahead is not straightforward: exams and standardised assessments are the fairest way of determining what a student knows and can do.
“We need to consider a wide range of qualifications – from A-levels and GCSEs to many different vocational and technical qualifications – and the solution won’t be the same for all.”
Education Select Committee chairman Mr Halfon told Sky News: “Clearly it has been a mess but we are where we are.
“But I think now we have to move on and make sure we have an exam system that is a level playing field for students and fair to the disadvantaged.
“We know that in the last lockdown millions of students did hardly any learning at all, despite the individual efforts of many teachers and many schools.”
He said teacher-assessed grading system was often unfair to “disadvantaged pupils” and he called on “independent assessors” to provide “a check and a balance”.
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