Anecdotal evidence suggests that a good many families intend to take this approach, act responsibly and minimise the risk of spreading the virus when the end to the pandemic appears to be in sight. If only Gavin Williamson, the hapless Education Secretary, could be given an injection of common sense.
Only now – and at the end of a very challenging term – does the DfE recognise the need for secondary schools and colleges to introduce rapid tests for Covid when this contingency was needed from the start of the academic year in September. Once again, he’s leading from behind.
But it’s also suspicious that this announcement was timed to deflect attention away from the political furore in Greenwich where local leaders agreed it was in the public health interest to shut schools because of escalating Covid cases before Mr Williamson intervened and forced them to reverse this decision.
An intervention viewed with incredulity by the teaching profession here in Yorkshire and beyond, such matters need to be left to the discretion of the relevant local authorities while the Secretary of State focuses on his number one priority – making sure schools receive the assistance they need and a comprehensive set of measures to help pupils left even more disadvantaged by the virus to catch up on their learning. If that is now beyond him, he should admit as much so a more dynamic Education Secretary can be appointed.
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