Six Weeks of Closure
The schools across England have been closed for almost six weeks as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown will reopen in phases, with headteachers given as much notices as possible. The secretary of state would not give a date for reopening, but ruled out schools opening during the summer holidays as a way of helping pupils who have missed out on education to catch up.
Gavin Williamson, the Education Secretary said, “ We recognize that the idea of schools all returning on day one with full complement of pupils is not realistic or practical. I do expect schools to be reopened in a phased manner. I also intend to be giving schools as much notice as possible.”
Continuous Speculations about Reopening
There has been continuous speculations about when schools might reopen, and whether older year groups, including pupils in their final year of primary school and those in the middle of GCSE and A-level courses could be among first to be brought back into schools as they might benefit most. When this question was asked, the education secretary said the government was looking at the best practice in other countries where schools are already beginning to reopen. He said that a subgroup from the scientific advisory group of emergencies (Sage) advising the government on its response to the pandemic had been setup to focus on issues surrounding school reopening.
Support for the Disadvantaged Children
The government has put in £100 million worth of investment in equipment and IT support for children disadvantaged by the digital divide. During the course of hearing it emerged however that the promised 200,000 laptops would not start to arrive in schools until the end of next month, with the majority delivered in June. The Education Secretary reiterated plans for an autumn series of what he described as ‘shortened’ exam for pupils unhappy with their grades, which will this year be calculated largely on teacher assessment as exams have been cancelled.