The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, has today made a statement to the House of Commons about the closure of schools in England during the national lockdown.
He stated that schools have not suddenly become unsafe but limiting the number of children and students who attend them is essential to curb the escalating cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the country and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.
The key measures to support the education of children and young people during the national lockdown include:
- early years settings remain open to all
- schools open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers
- clear requirements for schools to provide high-quality remote education
- stepping up the digital support to schools and parents
- working with the UK’s leading mobile network operators to provide free data to key educational sites
- continued provision of free school meals or food parcels for eligible pupils, whether or not they are attending school.
The Secretary of State confirmed that we will not be asking students to sit SATs, GCSEs and A and AS Level exams this summer. Together with Ofqual, we will consult next week on how to fairly award all pupils with a grade to ensure they can progress to the next stage of their lives.
The Secretary of State also confirmed that testing is going to be at the centre of our plans to return children back to school and college.
The Secretary of State thanked all social workers, teachers and other education staff for all they have been doing to keep children and young people safe and learning over the last difficult term.