Labour Blames Williamson for UK School Closures, Despite Controlling Wales

Today Labour has released a “back to school report” on Gavin Williamson’s “biggest failures from the last year“, blaming the education secretary and the government for “outstrip[ping] European countries in the length of school closures” during the pandemic, and claiming Labour has offered “proactive measures” to keep them open. A damning indictment of Williamson’s performance… if you ignore the fact education policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is devolved…

The data cited in the report, provided by the House of Commons Library, analyses school closures from across the UK, and finds that since January last year UK kids have been out of the classroom for 44% of the total school days. Bumping that number up, of course, was none other than Mark Drakeford, who closed Welsh secondary schools during his October “firebreak” lockdown (whilst schools remained open in England, even during November’s national restrictions), and staggered their reopening from March this year. In England, all children returned to school at the same time. Always a good idea to double-check your homework…

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New Figures Prove Labour’s Teacher-First Vaccine Policy Was Unnecessary

When Labour first came out with their teacher-first vaccine policy in January, Guido was instantly against the idea as it would divert vaccine resources away from the most vulnerable towards those with no proven medical need to be prioritised. Rough figures at the time showed the policy would result in 190 extra deaths a day. Thankfully government ignored the suggestion, and new figures from the ONS show they were right to, with only one in every 500 teachers catching Covid in the fortnight ending March 31st – down from one in 60 before Christmas. Teaching unions warned No. 10’s return to school for all pupils on March 8th was “madness” and risked an explosion in cases…

10,000 secondary school teachers and pupils, at 80 schools, were swabbed for the study, with just 0.34% of pupils testing positive, and almost nine in 10 secondary schools seeing no Covid cases reported after re-opening. Starmer’s call for a firebreak lockdown last year crashed and burned in Wales, and now we know this policy diversion from SAGE’s recommendation was also a misstep – not the best record for the Labour leader in retrospect…

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[LISTEN] Shadow Schools Minister Spends Morning Demanding Already-Established Government Policy

Guido couldn’t help feeling sorry for shadow schools minister Wes Streeting this morning, as he was sent out to demand the government prioritise opening schools as lockdown restrictions end – a policy to which the government is already emphatically committed. On TalkRADIO, Today and Times Radio, it was pointed out to listeners that Labour’s demands come after Boris said in the Commons 3 weeks ago that schools will be the first thing to re-open, and even reiterated the policy yesterday. Most embarrassing for Streeting was his Times Radio slot, which came after vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi had already this morning re-confirmed to listeners that government policy is to have schools re-open first. “Captain Hindsight” is starting to look too complimentary a description of Labour’s current political tactics…

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Hancock Refuses to Confirm When Schools Will Reopen
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School Kids More Likely to be in Car Crash than Catch Covid

With Boris using his first day back after his cut-short holiday to renew the push for kids to return to the classroom in September, deputy CMO Jenny Harries has used a rare media round to tell parents their children are more likely to be involved in a traffic collision or catch the seasonal flu than they are to contract Covid. Car crash TV in the most literal sense…

Boris is also making the point that the risks to children from staying away from school any longer – in both physical and mental health terms – vastly outweigh the risks of Coronavirus: “Nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school.” Prepare for a day of Gavin Williamson photo ops…

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Gibb Considered Resigning, Thought it “Would Have Been the Wrong Thing to Do”

A day after it emerged Gavin Williamson offered his resignation to the PM over the A-Levels, GCSE and BTEC fiasco series, this morning Nick Gibb revealed to LBC he too considered his resignation before concluding it “would have been the wrong thing to do” ahead of inevitable enquiries by the parliamentary education select committee and others. To be fair to Gibb and Williamson, abandoning the DfE in the middle of the storm, and weeks before all schools are set to return, wouldn’t have helped anything…

Responding to Nick Ferrari’s blunt claim that he “wouldn’t have the balls to stay in post” if he’d presided over this scandal, Gibb claimed he’d given the question “a lot of thought”.

The rest of the schools’ minister’s morning interview round was less clear, however. Gibb managed to both defend the algorithm itself – saying “The model was a good model” though something went wrong in its application – and defending the decision to scrap the algorithm. If Gibb had resigned as schools minister, it would have ended his 13-year run with the portfolio – ironically longer than any students’ time at school from nursery to Sixth form…

mdi-timer 20 August 2020 @ 09:02 20 Aug 2020 @ 09:02 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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