Gavin Williamson to make statement on schools and exams in lockdown

England’s Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is due to issue a statement in parliament on Wednesday after schools across the country were closed – switched to distance learning – and exams were canceled for this year.

Mr Williamson will address the new national lockdown on Wednesday afternoon following a statement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

And he will address the MPs before a debate and vote on the new blocking rules.

Mr Williamson is expected in Parliament at 1 p. M.

This summer’s GCSE and A-Level exams in England have been canceled.

The Examination Board Ofqual and the Department of Education (DfE) will work together to examine how students can be assessed to reflect their hard work.

Mr Williamson will propose to MPs a package to assist young people after schools and colleges are closed for all but vulnerable children and those of key workers.

Before making the statement in the House of Commons, the DfE stated that it was “a scary time for students who have worked hard on their exams”.

It added, “The government’s position is that we will not ask students to complete GCSE and A levels.

“Working with Ofqual, the department will advise on how all students can receive a grade that reflects the hard work they have done and will continue to do.”

In a televised address on Monday announcing England’s third national lockdown, Boris Johnson admitted that closing schools “is not possible or fair, that all exams take place as usual this summer”.

In a statement, Mr Williamson said: “It is important now that we support our young people at home, including ensuring that all students receive the best possible distance education and that those students who should take exams can continue to make their progress next level of education or training. “

To cancel all exams this summer would be “premature,” said the Headmasters’ Conference (HMC), which represents nearly 300 leading private schools.

The secretary general of the organization, Dr. Simon Hyde, said: “While it is important that the learning loss some students have experienced is taken into account and that disadvantaged students are not further disadvantaged, HMC believes that any decision to cancel all exams in England this summer to do so would be premature. “

He added: “The best way to ensure fairness is not to cancel all exams, but to moderate the assessment in whatever form externally. We need determined leadership and a willingness to compromise to create such a system. Our students don’t earn less. “

Barnaby Lenon, Chair of the Independent Schools Council, said there was no “perfect solution for grading modalities for 11th and 13th grade students given the current virus history,” acknowledging that there are different views in the education sector and in “many” the Students will be disappointed in losing the opportunity to test their learning through traditional exams. “

He added: “It is now up to the government and Ofqual to work with education professionals to develop a fair grading system that rewards all of our young people with the grades they deserve.”

Despite calls to cancel this month’s Btec exams in light of the lockdown, the government has left it up to school and college administrators to decide whether to proceed with the series of professional exams.

The decision came after ministers were asked to cancel exams in January.

Elsewhere, the question of whether such audits will take place in Northern Ireland has not been clarified. A decision is expected to be made by Thursday.

In the meantime, Mr Johnson has refused to guarantee that all children in England will be back in the classroom before the summer break.

But the Prime Minister said he was “full of optimism and basic hope” that things will be different in the spring.

All students – with the exception of children of key workers and vulnerable students – switched to distance learning under stricter restrictions by mid-term in February.

School principals have announced that they expect high turnout from children of key workers and vulnerable local students as the national lockdown takes place in England. One school expects hundreds to attend.

Steve Chalke, founder of the Oasis Charitable Trust, which has 53 schools across England, said principals were preparing to see more students coming to school on Wednesday than in March, as more children were classified as vulnerable and more parents were key workers wanted a place.

Government guidelines now state that vulnerable children may be “students who may have difficulty engaging in distance learning at home (e.g. due to lack of equipment or quiet study rooms)”.

Some principals were able to see up to 70% of their students in class with all eligible children in attendance, raising concerns about social distancing, staff shortages, and the ability to balance distance learning with in-person tuition.

The Association of School and University Directors (ASCL) also heard from school principals that more parents who were classified as critical workers wanted to sit down during the new national lockdown.


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