In the midst of criticism from his own party and former Ofsted chief executive, the education secretary faces demands for resignation
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As Williamson prepared to face MPs in the House of Commons on Wednesday, college leaders and civic leaders expressed disbelief that, amid a national lockdown and the cancellation of all GCSEs and A-levels, vocational and technical exams will go ahead in the summer. Robert Halfon, the Conservative chairman of the House of Commons education committee, condemned the government’s treatment of schools as a “big shambles,” and Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former head of Ofsted, joined the opponents of the minister in saying that he should now resign over his shortcomings. The latest disagreement with Williamson concerned the decision to hold BTec exams for vocational and technical qualifications later this month, even though schools and colleges closed their doors to most students and relocated online studies to delay the spread of the new variant of the virus. Following appeals from college leaders, he is getting other people to quit – secretaries of state and the head of Ofqual. The danger is that the misunderstanding will persist, lead to greater uncertainty for each student, and put at risk thousands of young people and their families, as well as the college employees who administer the exams. He added, ” He added, ” We are likely to see the cancellation of several colleges and others moving on. “Labour had previously called for the exams to be cancelled. Toby Perkins, shadow minister for apprenticeships and lifelong learning, said, “This government is detrimental once again to BTec students who have missed out on a lot of realistic core teaching this year. A joint statement by Liverpool Regional Mayor Steve Rotheram and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said, “A joint statement from Liverpool regional mayor Steve Rotheram and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said, ” Not treating these students the same as their peers who follow an academic course will be a double injustice. “Locally, there was confusion among students and teachers. Glyn Potts, principal of Newman Roman Catholic College in Oldham, said he had received an email from the DfE confirming that BTec exams would go ahead as planned. Eighty of his Year 11 students were due to sit the BTec exams in iMedia and Sports Science. “He added that the issue had caused great concern among students and parents. We have children who are supposed to take exams,”We have kids who are supposed to be taking exams. “We have children who are supposed to take BTecs in music on Thursday and PE on Monday – 75 students on Monday from grades 10 and 11. If you read through the government guidance that came through last night at 10:50, it’s very clear that there should only be vulnerable children and main children.
So there is something to be reconciled,” he said.The statement, issued later by the DfE, said, “Given the emerging public health initiatives, the vocational and technical exams due to take place in January where they see fit to do so can be continued by schools and colleges. “We understand this is a difficult time, but we want to support schools and colleges whose students have worked hard to prepare for assessments and exams where necessary.” In a statement to the House of Commons, Williamson would inform MPs that he has instructed Ofqual, the English exam regulator, to issue an eii.