The Prime Minister has announced that all schools and colleges in England will reopen on the 8 March, marking the first stage of the roadmap out of lockdown.
The Government has announced a further £400 million of funding to help children catch up with their education, in addition to the £300 million announced in January and the £1 billion announced in June last year.
The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, has also set out the Government’s plan for determining exam results this year, with GCSEs, A Levels, and vocational qualifications all to be awarded and determined by teachers.
Young people have faced serious challenges as a result of the pandemic. I know, at a very personal level, the difference that a great education can make, particularly to children who are most disadvantaged. It is vital that children can get back to school as soon as possible so that their education is not further disrupted.
There isn’t a perfect way to assess grades in these extraordinary circumstances. Certainly, last summer’s algorithmic approach caused great distress, and I was pleased to be part of the group of MPs who argued to reverse its damaging impact on local students and schools. Assessment by teachers provides a fairer way to recognise students’ hard work while ensuring that their life chances are not harmed at this time.
I look forward to seeing education for young people resume as we embark on the cautious journey out of lockdown and back to our day-to-day lives. Now it is essential that students are supported in their catch-up learning and that staff, students, and parents are provided with the necessary support to ensure that learning can take place safely and effectively. I have the health and welfare of all of our school community firmly in mind and I continue to work with schools and colleges to make sure they have the support they need so that we can get our young people back to school safely.