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Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has said he is “deeply sorry” to school pupils who had grades downgraded as a result of this summer’s exam algorithm and has said he is “determined” exams will go ahead in 2021.

The Education Secretary was speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday – his first appearance in Parliament since the decision was made to award pupils with their predicted grades for this summer’s exams.

Find out what he had to say by reading the blog post below.

The return to school

Millions of pupils in England are returning to school this week almost six months since Williamson took the decision to close them.

Among the changes are one-way systems, screens keeping pupils apart and staggered start times. Many pupils will be given inductions so they understand the new rules, these include staying in their “bubble” groups and where to use social distancing.

Attendance is compulsory, though it is not clear how many pupils will be there.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “Schools are doing everything they can to make sure their pupils and their staff stay safe.”

What did the Education Secretary say about school reopening?

Williamson said:

For many, today marks the first day of a new school year, with thousands of children set to walk through their school gates again as schools across the country begin to reopen for full-time education for all pupils.

I do not underestimate how challenging the last few months have been but I do know how important it is for children to be back in school, not only for their education but for their development and wellbeing too.

  But it is down to the sheer hard work of so many teachers and school staff that from today pupils will be to learn in their classrooms together again. It has not been easy for parents nor schools, but we could not have got to this point without your support and I cannot say thank you enough for this.

What was said about 2021 exams?

We are determined that exams and assessments will go ahead next year, and we’re working with the sector that this is done as smoothly as possible.

While none of this disruption is what we wanted for our students, I believe that they now have a certainty and reassurance they deserve and will be able to embark on the next exciting phase of their lives.

I hope whole House will join me in wishing all of them the very best for their future.

Meanwhile, Labour had been calling for a delay to exams, saying pupils entering Year 11 and 13 who had lost up to six months of teaching time and “have a mountain to climb” unless the timetable is changes. Mr Williamson said this has beeen under consideration since June.

This is something that we highlighted that we’d be doing.

What about the plan for school catch up?

He also added further comments regarding the plan for school catch up:

As part of the advice that was worked up along with the Education Endowment Foundation, one of their key recommendations was looking at how you can extend the school day, how you can look at provisional weekends in order to support children who really do need that little bit of extra help in order for them to have a real impact in terms of their educational attainment.

  All of these measures can have an enormously positive effect and that’s why we developed a £1 billion Covid catch-up fund because schools then have the ability to take such action. 

How EDClass can help

EDClass can help with your school’s return as well as the following needs in the 2020-21 academic year:

  • Catch up delivery and sessions for missed learning
  • Missed safeguarding issues
  • Students experiencing separation anxiety
  • Allowing social distancing with students and staff
  • Dealing with a new form of low level disruptive and poor behaviour
  • Covid-19 threatening and negative behaviour, resulting in isolation, fixed term exclusion or possible permanent exclusion
  • Assessing and tracking students accurately and continuously
  • Knowing how far your students are behind
  • A local lockdown
  • A second wave
  • Whole year group lockdown
  • Whole department lockdown
  • Online and virtual assemblies and notices
  • A full teaching programme for pupils who are learning remotely
  • Poor student attendance
  • Having a positive alternative provision where students are learning
  • Staff absence and staff shielding
  • Delivering sessions to students who have not got a specialist teacher or tutor (such as cover / staff illness)
  • Class and Year bubbles
  • Teachers’ safety when rotating and students remain inside a fixed classroom
  • Isolation and exclusion with live teaching and well-being support
  • Catch up for low level numeracy and literacy
  • Safeguarding learners with mental health issues
  • Being ready for an inspection
  • Tuition and tutoring programmes
  • Educating those students whose parents refuse them to come back or shielding
  • Offering a Continuous Curriculum delivery
  • Rural delivery to students
  • One to one support to small classroom delivery
  • SEND / CAMHS support
  • Moving around the building safely
  • Being prepared for exams
  • Catch up sessions for holiday
  • Holiday cover

EDClass has a range of 11,000+ lessons to help student catch up – across a wide range of subjects.

The system meets high standards having been inspected by Ofsted in 2019.

Live and recorded teaching is available along with tasks, quizzes and assessments for pupils to complete. A sophisticated tracking system means teachers monitor the attainment and performance of their pupils.

Safeguarding is the system’s number one priority with eyes-on learning, alert mechanisms, questionnaires and interactivity with teachers available. All EDClass staff are enhanced DBS checked.

For more information call 01909 568 338.