Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, responding to Gavin Williamson’s statement on return to school and awarding qualifications in 2021, said:
On these benches we want to see every pupil safely back in class, where they can see their friends, their teachers, and get the structure and stability they need.
But it is not enough simply to say that schools will reopen. There must be a credible plan that will not only enable schools to open in March, but will keep them open.
The Secretary of State has failed to use the period when most pupils were not in school to put the necessary measures in place.
In January he said he wanted school staff to be in the next wave of vaccinations. So why has there still been no commitment from the government to prioritise school staff? Does he no longer believe they should be a priority?
Many schools have lost income and face higher costs because of the pandemic. Why has he failed to review the funding?
One way to reduce transmission of coronavirus is to allow schools to teach on a rota basis. Labour, school leaders, and teachers have all asked him to consider this. He has refused. Why?
Ventilation has an important role to play in reducing transmission indoors. Will he update his department’s guidance to ensure that it is clear, robust, and specific enough for all schools to implement it effectively?
Can he tell me why, months after Labour called for it, he has not made any progress in providing Nightingale Classrooms so more pupils can study in small groups?
Read Kate’s full statement in the House of Commons.